[spectre] THE BOOK OF OPIUM, the last book by Caterina Davinio

ART ELECTRONICS clprezi at tin.it
Thu Jun 28 18:24:57 CEST 2012

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Publisher: Puntoacapo, Novi Ligure 
Year: 2012 Genre: Italian Poetry 168 pages - Price: 16 Euro

Purchase: * Orders from the publisher: acquisti at puntoacapo-editrice.com

* Free copies: journalists, critics, cultural centers and libraries 
that can make the book available to public consultation, can request a 
free copy by writing to the cultural association ART ELECTRONICS: 
clprezi at tin.it (please, write your address, the name of your 
journal/review and web site address)

Il libro dell'oppio (The Book of 
Opium), namely: the cursed years of a protagonist of the international 
electronic art and poetry. 
Opium and opiates, literary vice par 
excellence - with a history and personalities in the literary scene, 
from Baudelaire to De Quincey, from Coleridge to Burroughs - find in 
this work a space   unencumbered by victimism or prejudice, with a 
delirious perspective, but free from censorship and taboos.

The author 
writes in the introductory note: "These are sick (and hellish) paradis 
artificiels... It is better not to talk about certain diseases of body 
and soul, it is better to conceal them, not to upset 
the sensibility 
of those who, in the world, can so surely separate good and evil, 
health and affliction, heaven and hell. In fact, this book remained 
unpublished, and I would say secret, for more than twenty years".

can define The Book of Opium a work by a young poet: it contains, in 
fact, lyrics created by Davinio when she was from seventeen to thirty 
years old.

Mauro Ferrari points out in the afterword: "This is poetry 
which brings together in one bundle a life experience which is anyway 
full and painfully joyous - I too suggest an oxymoron - that in Italy 
this poetry has very few equals, and that it takes refuge neither in a 
more or less cursed attitude, nor in moralism. [...] The poetry of 
Caterina Davinio drips vitality, corporeality and physicality, which, I 
think, makes us love life beyond measure, because it sinks its nails 
into abjection, into hazard and death - into a challenge to death, 
even, without rhetoric, neither in the construction of the verses nor 
in the narrative dimension of this lucid and hallucinated diary. […] 
History? Yes, the dates (between 1975 and 1990) tell us about the years 
of terrorism and heroin; but the single texts, however, tell us a story 
- rather they offer to us fragmented instants, a heap of broken images, 
that do not aspire to total organicity - where the pursuit of pleasure 
(momentary and fleeting, as always pleasure is, according to the poet 
Leopardi) merges with the immersion in pain like systole and diastole. 
The desperate search for drugs is wandering, delay and waiting ("the 
waiting is everything"); the resurrection to life after a night of 
drugs, or the lucidity that shines between two chasms, is then the 
terrible confirmation of the value of "that life which is missing", 
confirmation of how life should be wooed, to feel alive one more day, 
drunk on the edge of the abyss."

Caterina Davinio, writer, poet and 
artist, is known for her work in new media, which has brought her, 
since 1990, in contact with the international avant-garde circuits, in 
publications, festivals, eexhibitions and meetings of global 
sigificance, such as the Venice Biennial, the Biennale of Sydney, of 
Lyon, of Liverpool, of Athens, of Merida, E-Poetry festival (Barcelona 
and Buffalo, NY), Manifesta and many others, with over three hundred 
appearances in meaningful exhibition contexts. This book gives us an 
opportunity to know a dark period preceding 1990, in the Seventies and 
the Eighties, offering a gallery of situations, characters and 
atmosphere from the world of drug addiction, with moments of hedonism, 
nihilism, but also playful, or dramatic, such as in "Overdose", 
"Anorexia", "Flash (Poem of Heroin)".

"The Book of Opium" presents one 
hundred and fourteen selected poems from the collection "Fatti 
deprecabili" (Deplorable Facts), almost entirely unpublished, which 
contains texts written from Davinio's early adolescence. Davinio began 
writing poetry at the age of fourteen years, composing, from 1971 until 
1997, over four hundred poems and performance texts; some of them were 
included in anthologies, readings and theater performances in the late 
Eighties and Nineties. The poems included in this book, never printed 
or presented before, are a first attempt to organize and arrange part 
of those manuscripts for publication.

The themes of drugs and 
marginality are not new in Davinio's literary production, already 
present in her novel Color Color, in various poems, and in her book 
Serial Phenomenologies (2010).
The Book of Opium, with its language 
directed, up from its origins, to experimentation, with a vocation for 
breaking the syntactical structures, the verses, and, sometime, the 
words, with the 
unpredictability of some unexpected passages and 
variations, provides, in a not merely neo-realistic way, an 
unprecedented insight into life and the youth culture of the Seventies 
and the Eighties, perhaps the generation most affected by what has been 
called the drug culture.

Born in Foggia in 1957, Caterina Davinio 
grew up in Rome, where, after a degree in Italian Literature at 
Sapienza University, she dealt with contemporary art and new media, as 
a writer, as a curator and a theorist. Featured in international 
anthologies and journals, she has published the poetry collection 
Serial Phenomenologies, Campanotto, 2010, special mention in Nabokov 
Prize 2011 and in Lorenzo Montano Prize 2012, with parallel English 
text, afterword by Francesco Muzzioli and a critical note by David W. 
Seaman; the novel Color Color, 1998; the essays: Techno-Poetry and 
Virtual Realities, 2002, with preface by Eugenio Miccini, and Virtual 
Mercury House. Planetary & Interplanetary Events, book with dvd, 2012, 
about net-poetry. She gained recognitions as a finalist in the awards: 
Lorenzo Montano, Franco Fortini, 2011, Scriveredonna 2010 (Pescara), 
for unpublished poetry. Among the pioneers of digital poetry and art in 
1990, she has exhibited in more than three hundred expos in many 
countries of Europe, Asia, America, Australia. Since 1997 she 
participated and has created poetry and multimedia art events in seven 
editions of the Venice Biennale and 

On the cover: Caterina Davinio, digital elaboration from a 
photographic self-portrait created in 1979.

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