The Coastguard's House by Eugenio Montale
Eugenio Montale was the greatest Italian poet of the 20th century. Born in Genoa in 1889, he achieved sudden fame during the 1920s when his pessimistic poetry caught the mood of Italy in the culturally sterile years following the First World War. His stoical outlook echoed T.S. Eliot's, whose work he translated, but the source of much of his imagery was the barren, rocky landscape of his native Liguria - transmuted in his poems into an almost mythical setting. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1975, and died in 1981. Jeremy Reed writes: "It was Robert Lowell's freedom in handling his Imitations and the dynamic lift he gave to the originals which convinced me that a version rather than a strict translation would prove more valuable to the English reader. In these versions I have tried to create the poem in English which Montale might have written in the last decade of the 20th century. I think the future of translation lies in this: the extension of two sensibilities to create a poetry which otherwise would not have existed."