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Publication: Atlanta Review : AR
Author: Magrelli, Valerio
Date published: April 1, 2011


Brackish water, not sweet nor salty,

but salty and sweet.

That's what happens when the rivers

of war and of peace

flow into a single marsh,

in a stagnation of life

infested by death,

in an effervescence of death

polluted by life.


The door of Janus's Temple

is the one invented by Duchamp,

opened and closed at once:

it doesn't keep the monsters outside

nor welcome them in.

Valerio Magrelli

translated by Moira Egon

Translator's note. "Wace" is the muddled mixture of war and peace that's so characteristic of our time.

Author affiliation:

Valerio Magrelli was born in Rome in 1957. He is a poet, critic, and essayist, and Professor of French Literature at the University of Cassino. He has published numerous volumes of poetry, criticism, translation, and prose. His many awards include the Mondello Prize, the Viareggio Prize for poetry, the CetonaVerde Prize, and the Montale Prize.

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