Emilio Villa, nineteen-fifty3 rally

Featured in the new issue of Asymptote, “nineteen-fifty3 rally,” an excerpt from our forthcoming bilingual edition of Emilio Villa’s poems.

Emilio Villa (1914-2003) was a poet, visual artist, translator, critic, and Bible scholar. His poems encompass modern and ancient languages, including Milanese, Italian, French, English, Latin, Greek, Sumerian, and Akkadian.

Fundamental to his formation were the years he spent in seminary school outside Milan and at the Istituto Biblico in Rome, where he specialized in Ancient Semitic Philology. Throughout his life, he worked on an a-confessional translation of the Hebrew Bible (which remains unpublished today), and wrote extensively on contemporary art and its relation to the visual texts left by prehistoric man. Villa’s preoccupation with the origin of language (verbal as well as non-verbal) is the common thread that runs through his diverse artistic and critical endeavors.

Our edition of Villa’s poetry is translated by Dominic Siracusa, who received for this text the Academy of American Poets’ Raiziss / de Palchi award for Modern Italian poetry in translation. For more info on the award, Siracusa, and Villa, visit this page of the American Academy of Poets:


To read Villa’s poem (in either the original Italian or the English translation):