Bartolo Cattafi was born in Sicily in 1922, but did not spend all his life there; he was taken as a prisoner of war in the Shetlands, and later lived for over twenty years in Milan, where he worked in industry, publishing and journalism. During this time he travelled extensively in Europe and Africa. His poems often reflect that restlessness: poems about islands, streets, cities, the sea. Poetry was a spare time activity during his career, but he was very prolific and successful- he was awarded the prestigious literary prize, the Premio Cittadella, in 1959. In 1967 Cattafi returned to his roots in Sicily, where he remained until his death in 1979.