Caterina Davinio


Profile of the Italian Digital Poet, Caterina Davinio 
Please see some English translations of her poetry below.


Caterina Davinio's poems translated into English by David W. Seaman and Caterina Davinio, from the poetry collections: Aliens on Safari, Serial Phenomenologies, The Book of Opium, and Waiting for the End of the World.

From:  Caterina Davinio, “ Aliens on Safari (Light from Hell)”, in AAVV, Dentro il mutamento, anthology curated by Maria Lenti, Fermenti, Rome 2011.



Only our voices
and gray strips of palm
like shining backs
of coleoptera,
and suffering
under the infinite sun;
the black wings
of the hut
closed over us,
they protected us like elytra
of a giant insect,
we trembled with
and drank water,
we laid down our weapons
in the gaunt shadow
in front of the horizon
in every direction.

I knew that we were the Earth
with forms
and we would
forever be
in the wrinkled skin
of that immense animal,
that thundered, there
with its winds
and fresh secret snakes
of current,
they lightly touched
our body
with golden scales in the water
now warm
now in motion
now placated
now violent whip
of shining  foams
on our humble feet.




I loved you so much
that, at night,
I climbed on the roof
to watch
your unknown
Southern stars
and I almost trembled
at the prodigious
like Ulysses
in the final journey;
your tribal dances,
for the guests,
screeched far away
under the fierce

while the black palm grove up to the sea
standing out with large curved leaves
as precise strokes of the pen
against the blue-black sky,
while the palm grove up to the sea
with its black waves
with its black wind
warm sand.
I prayed, baffled
by imagination
that wrapped the things
in an unreal chrysalis,
with absolute vertigo
I knelt
on the bare wood,
on the terrace
of mild stone
I inhaled the corrupt scent
of fruits,
sweet and torn
by an intimate death,
of your butterflies sleeping
in the grass,
of your curious woodpeckers
among the fronds,
greedy of ghosts,
in the lively night
of invisibles
the rotted contagion of the end
was spread.
And like a primitive
I cried for life.


From: Caterina Davinio, Serial Phenomenologies, Campanotto, Pasian di Prato (UD) 2010.


The hill
has naught but the red of blood and the black
of the rotting leaves
I tremble at the passage of your
and I remember every second of the non happening
I register the time of the "not",
Its sharp twinges, the mean blows.
I say:
Hold me tight and do not happen, my beloved,
don’t tell me now, one day
Don’t tell me.    
That I comprise you and re-contain you all
As your heart beats my blood (why do I run
                        into your burning bosom?)
And still, on the mouth cherries
killed like pink and sweet,
salt and laughter and if.



Highways IV

And the sky made me
weighted me down
with sunlight
through my eyelashes
and I prayed
in my bright
sparkling blue
like the infinite hopes
my breath (shining),
as never before.



The House II

So learned of forgotten things
of those who are no more.
The quiet path among high trees
now small new hedge
and the smooth stones now, the recent paint
under which lie other coats and stories
of eyes, voices, and child bodies,
of springy adolescent bones, first breaths
of our past, Our Father,
that sanctuary of dancing bare feet, steps in
                         a life perhaps only dreamed.

And then to sink tremendous eyes into the sunset  - into the infinite pain -
seeping through the tremulous hedge, flowering in the night of lights
suspended on the red horizon - overflowing
into the end -
passions of tragic poems
where hated life lay, grown in swollen buds
filled with the minute;
it moans now, and I weep for the failing hour,
the heavy air burns among courtly processions of wasps
besieging swarms of trifles,
so the today also runs away, unanswered.
Like chewing new sounds, fierce singing of the present
blended with those of yore, from the depth where
                                           time shatters,
beaten by mourning clocks,
by demanding what it owns:
time and other signs of time.




Day after day
I turn on the machines,
I dispense their immense memory,
every day
I fire up the motors,
then inside I switch myself off.

But your name is a glowing arc,
crosses the night of the screen as an arrow,
like a comet
and I miss that, making you feel.   

You know I have no myths.
I love the rally cars
and a few other things
that I cannot say.


From: Caterina Davinio, The Book of Opium, Puntoacapo, Novi Ligure 2012.


(Heroin) P. G.'s Basement

And I go down the stairs again
with the screeching of my worn out

P. G. tunes instruments for
for his golden arm
alchemy in a metropolitan shell

The squeak of time was
thrown back into the cracks
where the plaster has the form of a twisting branch;

and my veins are sturdy trunks,
scaly, for drops of green sap
nourishment rising
from the bowels of the earth,
hunger and nourishment
are laws of nature,
close that door
(close that damn lid).
The sun blinds me
and I know nothing,
nothing of the world,
they are shouting
things I don't understand.
My small utensils
consume an exciting familiar ritual
and my eyes shine
and in my bosom my heart hopes
obscure hopes without return.
Hunger, nourishment,
they are laws of nature
friends of my monkey
that accompanies me for years
it begs to me, lives
close to me,
it smiles to me and I dialogue with its shining muzzle,
it remembers everything,
the past and my mistakes,
it's alaw of nature.





I need your touch,
down, in the disreputable bars of this city,
where smiles and glances interweave
and someone will fall
on the street.
Lights of almost empty
face to face
laying down all weapons
chasing a poignant wave,
that soft billow.

They gallop
chased by the cold.





Game of water
game of mirrors
I am on the street
and I'm looking for you.
City in pieces,
you are imploring me
to stay,
but I have no time.



Slums II

We, consenting
to the path
of the night
sharp words
form visions
of little
and holiness.
Will they sell purity
in the sparkle
of a loquacious

with their (accursed)

in obstinate nights
of station
in the desert surroundings.



The head tumbles between the legs
like a wooden ball
you fall, dark night
in the eyes,
the door a span away
you are on your knees
and furious knocks at your decrepit door
they try to save you and knock like demons
at your inept dirty carved door
you call me by name, they shout
and I am kneeling
she, she the angel the goddess
dies in a narrow latrine
one step away from salvation
narcotic dust and whiskey
liquid final passages
are prevailing
they go to the head like a punch
and they fill it to the brim, it's overflowing shaking
with a conclusive blow
like the wave of a fucking furious sea
whiskey and dust
to the melted brain
and night around
and the blue door a palm away
and they call,
they’re raging
out there.




Ten days
only heroin,
long dreams
lying on the couch
in my sack of precious bones
then I look at myself
spectral mirror
I look
what day it is
what time it is
it is July, July of ever
the dazzling summer runs (filters) between the chinks of the shutters
and I have slept for centuries
into an imaginific abyss
while you all were living around
and today the house is empty
I pick up my beloved
light as a feather and elastic
in the black pants
dressed in black
like a sign of bad power.

Twenty days
only pills
water, drops
just nothing
just to wander around at night
only dust
and an inhuman strength
of my nerves
which jumps up, powerful
like a spring
and makes you run, burn
all the ephemeral things of this toy-city
everything that empties me

until I feel life
stronger in the feeble body
elastic like a reed
thin like a blade of grass.



Flash (The Poem of Heroin)

The time for a sigh
blood spills
in the elastik plastic
and sighing-injection
She trans-trahere transient 
with fleeting happiness
and very intense
trans/crosses traveling
from my arm to my spine
like a rampant scratch
spiders of pleasure climb
hit me (stab me) in the back
Full plain head flash water
nothing you forget
dazed by the blows of an orgasm
not an org-chiasm
not a hedonistic drape
not that very little sensation
that is already dying
and leaves you staring at
the road that runs away
and you say:
I want to remember
this moment
this infinite escaping
of the temporary, a huge instant
I want to remember it
and that it is all
it's god
it's the best in life
of its spines
of its thickening plasma
the origin
the disease of life
it restores an equilibrium
it throws gold on the barbaric
scales (you're sold to the world)
it stresses your heart in love
you fall in love
you look at those lights running along the street
I'm leaning against a lamppost
against an obelisk of smooth stones
and I see
the universe in colorful stripes
and reflecting
lines of color
headlights of the automobiles oh America!
so far
all I can scrape away
I take it in tired hands
in my eyes with my stupor
run, street
run, boulevard
run, houses
bright nights
reflections of rain
my leather jacket with sinister glows
holds me I am a little god
it hugs me
it binds me
it is like iron like a straitjacket
and I look at you, night,
in the eye, with all my cowardly
of failed angry addict
honor to the failure
make up on us, corpses
(fragrant skeletons sucked down
naked dust of death)
but record in your damned books
that I was born today
that I have everything
everything is the universe
that mighty wake.

She declines in the sleep
in the soft caressing dreams
like lover's fraternal gentle caresses
and it lets go spiders in the corners of my room
bad cut, presage
black streak of delirium
and I remember
(without fear)
only weak delirium of shadow
you lying
on the mattress, dying
and I, giving you salvation with small black drops
we rose again from our hell like gentle angels
with the tickle of God in our judicious veins
scratched by claws, needles like kisses

about paradise about hell
I have nothing to add
I do not repent
I abhor nothing with my angry
with its effervescent little bubbles
of universal sparkling love
about universe universe
where are you at home
under the deception of my daily
craving of afflicted
afflicted for you, helpless spectators
of my decay and dementia
of my alienated suicide and
suicidal life
but I build bricks of a powerful wall
an undecipherable barrier
of cells, a chemical wall
in the gates in my brain
don't say oblivion
don't tell me I'm a fool
I build a life freed from the burden of life
let me run like an angel in the jungle
I know about tigers, torn
by blame
to kill
out of need
let me be free
the white scratches on my back are loosening me
and they give away
how do I live without that weight of matter
without that raucousness of a thousand cigarettes
chain-smoked, I smoke ---
I live, light like a flash
like persistence like a meteor
please tell me you understand me
or tell me that you hate me
I have the power of sound and events
now I leave the outrage
to my tremulous flesh to diminish
tomorrow will be fear and emptiness
I will be a puppet in rags begging,
the anger of God will tell my sins
and I will wait on the road again
weeping like a penitent
with knives in my eyes
praying and waiting for the time of the syringe and of the lines
for the water that tortures my veins
up to the walking pensive day
I will wait like Christ on the cross
water and fire,
infinite love,



From: Caterina Davinio, “Aliens on Safari” in AAVV, Retrobottega 2, anthology curated by Gianmario Lucini, CFR, Piateda (SO) 2012.



and festive throng
of bicycles, rags
bare bones and glowing eyes
of old saints
by our
carts and
patient smiles of
with polychrome
streaked veil
among fruit stalls
and benches of color,
creaking wagons and
rotten twisted nails;

it rolled in the animated
and in the inert ones,
the big one
with its fire.

Tearing across
our white soul,
that pretty little soul,
tiny as nothing
desirous of being in the world,
to rejoice
at the sense
of a long
in that capital
of empire
by such a pink sweat
by pink thoughts
by an infinite pink dirt
by the infinity, all




We left.



The sweet smell
of death
like a sinuous
in the hedgehopping mist,
water tempers
the root
the souls
the bodies
the exhausted reason
by washed out roseate
that ill
moist touch
the stone
the flights of steps
the lanes
the rags
oily and solemn
disordered and marshy
it gave us
its sacraments.


From: Caterina Davinio, Waiting for the End of the World, Fermenti, Rome 2012.


Solitaire Beer (Calangute, Goa)

You escaped on the horizon
new as a train of stars
of a goddess
the firmament and the spheres
flashed on streaks of sunset 
caressed by warm winds
I was like a chained dog
looking far
perhaps the dogs dream
they feel broken bones from the stick and boredom
and they pray in front of the sunset
I was god massacred by the hate of the humans
and a leaf in an iron close
I was broken from the exhausted gasp of the evening
I escaped like a slave laborer from the Bastille
toward the pink horizon
cheered by curls of wind
behind the perspective of the tablecloth among the reeds
I was god watching us
I was roots in the damp forest of ferns
I prayed with clasped hands towards the pink and azure sunset
I ran towards the mild shore
where the small wave
said to me



I am ashamed of the polished words, 
so I hide them
throwing rough and crude notes
like the Rondanini Pietà
still raw with matter
on the lines of crystal
like the soul that sparkles in one’s eyes.

Because god is dead,
poetry is dead
and perhaps
I'm dead too
like a poet without liturgies
must die,
I'm singing my non-faith,
made of hard things
like a day that embraces
weak legs
after an extreme night
dense with asperities,
ill with intemperance
and without honor,
and injected by oblivion.


From: Caterina Davinio, Aliens on Safari, partially unpublished collection. “Novoli” was published, in the English version, in: AAVV, Italy “Atalanta Review” Volume XVII Number 2, Spring/Summer 2011, Edited by Francesco Levato.



The negroamaro
black-bitter flavor
of luminous Salento
Like an infinite memory,
The palms
And the golden stones
Of your churches
Red-hot under
The oleander sun.

And a pang,
Maybe a memory
That hesitates
In the silence of the streets
Reticent, deserted
I go alone
Like a timeless pilgrim
To the old house
Behind the sun-drenched blinds;
It is there
Uninhabited and ruined
With all the dreams shuttered,
The words spoken,
The ancestors’ gestures,
The smiles
One by one.                                      
They welcomed me with open arms
With restless spirits
In the empty splintered rooms
Where sunlight filters in.

All you reposing in eternity
Nevertheless laughing in front of me
Welcoming phantoms
Happy in a far-off time
When you loved me
And I loved you,
You who are me in the flesh
Poor, tremulous,
Tired of the future which impends without islands,
Lacerated by loss,
I think of you, I see you
Behind daily lenses
Of shadow, in gloomy corners
In the sideboard,     
In the kneading trough,      
In the embossed table,
A world speaks to me
With legendary things,
Behind the shutters,
From the window panes,
Your presence
The voices
Filter through like lights that
Odious eternity does not mitigate.
And I still desire you,
The old bricks caressed by our feet
The long sails of the ceilings           
Profound silent and moist universes,
Rancid and fabulous odors
Set ambushes          
Up the narrow stairs to the attic
Cluttered with imaginary things,
Hedged in with mysteries,
To sunny terraces
Where a world as far as the eye can see
Went from rooftop to rooftop
In a cranky perspective       
That spoke my name.

I love you still, and this love beyond the grave
Breaks my senseless flesh,
Immeasurable monstrous receptacle of the world;
I pulled open the door and flung it back  
And went out into the scorching street
Without anyone;
I feel it in my blood
Like a fire,
And I understand
That life does not belong to us,
We do not inhabit memory
And if it ever possesses us,
Like an immense goatskin of wind,
At its command, with all the rainbows
Shudders in our limbs
In front of our eyes, a luminous wake.
And like Ulysses I am not afraid to search.

And I see my mother’s mother enter
Through the milky
Double doorway
She pushes the shutter and we joke
In the vaulted room
Swollen with time,
With the first love of the parent,
With the dark happy coolness
That refreshed the white summers of burning stones,
With the warmth that heartens us facing fear,
With the happiness that welcomes exiles,   
The wandering gods.

Father, remember my long road
I never rested and never turned back
But today more painfully than ever
I return home,
In a pact signed in blood,
To my land.
Here the ancestors hoed the land and embraced their brides
Suffered the cold and dreamed of a stingy future
They were tired
They lit coals
They closed their eyes
They were born in pain,
They were friends,
And felt fear
Rivalry, remorse,
And there was joy
Every stone, every old seat
Is impregnated with their hearts.

And I, like the urn that gathers
And its endless stories
Because the poet is meek before her calling,
Humble like a saint
Before the incandescent matter of God,
That one trembling before
Our fearful eyes,
Every person whom I met
In my naked life
I contain,
Every footstep, every leaf of wind
Every word I read, every story heard
Every wayfarer
Every occasion.


Copyright  2012 Caterina Davinio


    Novoli is a small town in Puglia, in the Province of Lecce, in the South of Italy; it is the city of the poet's ancestors. 
    Negroamaro is a wine from Salento, the Southern part of Puglia.


For more information about
Caterina Davinio please visit: 

Caterina Davinio was born in Foggia in 1957. She grew up in Rome, where she graduated in Italian literature at the University I Sapienza, then dealing with contemporary art and new media, as an author, a curator, and a theorist. She has published: Color color, novel (Campanotto Publisher, 1998), finalist in the Feronia Prize; Tecno-Poesia e realtà virtuali (Techno-Poetry and Virtual Realities), essay, with English translation, foreword by Eugenio Miccini (Sometti Publisher, Mantua 2002); Virtual Mercury House, Planetary & Interplanetary Events, texts and documents about e-poetry, with English translation (Polìmata Publisher, Rome 2012).

Her poetry works include: Aspettando la fine del mondo (Waiting for the End of the World), with English translation (Fermenti Publisher, Rome 2012); Il libro dell'oppio (The Book of Opium, (Puntoacapo Publisher, Novi Ligure 2012); Fenomenologie seriali (Serial Phenomenologies), with parallel English text (Campanotto Publisher, 2010), special mention in the Nabokov Prize 2011, in Lorenzo Montano Prize, and finalist in the Carver Prize.

Featured in international anthologies, essays and journals, she has been one of the pioneers of digital poetry since 1990; her art work has been presented in more than three hundred expos and festivals in many countries of Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and Latin America; they include: the Sydney Biennale, The Venice Biennale, the Biennale de Lyon, the Liverpool Biennial, the Artists' Biennial in Hong Kong, the New Media Art Biennial of Merida, in Mexico, the international poetry festival of Medellin, in Colombia, the E-Poetry festival at SUNY Buffalo (New York) and Barcelona University, Polyphonix festival (in Barcelona and Paris), VeneziaPoesia festival (Nanni Balestrini Curator) and many others.

Since 1997 she has created electronic art and poetry events in seven editions of the Venice Biennale and collateral exhibitions.