Professor’s debut poetry collection tops Amazon list

November 09, 2021

Headshot of Filippo Naitana

After years of studying and publishing as a scholar, Associate Professor of Modern Languages Filippo Naitana granted himself permission to begin writing creatively.

The fruits of his efforts resulted in "Viceversa," a full-length, bilingual poetry collection that became a top new release in Amazon’s Literature and Fiction in Italian category upon its September debut.

Born in Sardinia and later working in Florence before attending graduate school in America, Naitana publishes in his native language as well as English. He explained that he became more interested in creative pursuits when he began translating poetry for major outlets such as the Journal of Italian Translation and La Repubblica.

This work became another way to understand writing that Naitana admired and a vessel to join an intercultural conversation, he said.

“I felt a more urgent need to express myself creatively in a language that is such an important part of my life,” said Naitana. “I was always drawn to poetry, and its amazing range that is able to encompass so many discourses, from the language of intimacy to political satire.”

About four years ago, Naitana began submitting his poems to American and Italian literary presses. These and other works make up "Viceversa", a work meditating on the notion of transit.

“There are several forms of transit: Physical, anthropological and spiritual,” said Naitana. “The book is an attempt to move between two worlds.”

He chose a painting by Edward Hopper, his favorite American artist, to cover the collection. The subject looks out a window, but what she sees isn’t clear. Here, Naitana explains he identifies a visual translation of his ideas: A person existing in one place while engaged with another.

Naitana found the publishing process to be interesting, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with Italian press Società Editrice Fiorentina, Naitana explained that he and his editors focused on negotiating the double text as well as other features of the manuscript, which included concrete poems like Volatility Report (where words form a printed graph); such poems' defining characteristic is a typographical formation in dialogue with their meaning.

Naitana is slated to participate in virtual readings in immediate months. He highlights that he looks forward to late Spring ’22 when he foresees more in-person reading opportunities will transpire.

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