Tag Archives: gabrielle d’annunzio

interlude 4: ode to a near-forgotten Italian poet.

11 Sep

Ode to d’Annunzio.

(I’m still writing these. This was inspired by the astonishing biography by Lucy Hughes-Hallett)

Gabrielle d’Annunzio.

Fussy Italian maestro cum historical oddity.

Somehow both comical and terrifying.

Somehow both genteel and vicious.

He wrote novels.

He wrote plays.

He wrote poems.

He dropped bombs.

He gave speeches.

He flew planes.

He conquered a city.

He was decadent.

A 20th century Casanova.

He was one of the grandest servants of death.

An unapologetic worshiper of Black Tara Kali Hades Lucifer

He was a roaring glorifier of war.

(Hemingway called him a “son of a bitch.”)

D’Annunzio does not care what you think of him.

He shrieks out from the vapors of history:

war war war

death death death

glory glory glory

blood blood blood

sex sex sex

war sex death

He was:

short bald ugly

a legendary Priapus

a neuromancing satyr

a dandified soldier

a vicious bombardier

a foul-mouthed excavator of ancient words

a grand reader

a great appreciator of music

a lover of flowers

a prolific author

a total reeking stinking assload of shit.

He writes of flames and death and angels.

He sanctifies battle and murder and plunder.

The life of the world lies in slumber, he writes.

Men wept for his attention.

Women wept for his attention.

He conquered a small city in Croatia and declared it a new state.

He remains a pitiless shade.

He remains a terrifying apparition.

He was:

a proto-fascist

a part-time socialist (when it suited him)

a dreamy futurist

a sex-obsessed prankster-anarchist

an inspiration to Mussolini

(What do we make of this?)

And a precursor to all the outlaw literary movements:

Dadaism

Surrealism

Modernism

the Beats

the post-modernists

everything transgressive and pornographic and wild

glides down to us through him

Successor to Huysman and DeSade

Friend to Gide

Contemporary of Proust and Pirandello

Joyce before Joyce

Woolf before Woolf

Hemingway before Hemingway

Burroughs before Burroughs

Ballard before Ballard

Bataille before Bataille

One of the most celebrated writers of his age

Now what?

a limping, near-dead reputation

summed up in a few disparaging words

fascist militarist narcissist

More read about than read.

Just dust.

war sex death

war sex death

War! Sex! Death!

Is there a more fitting mantra for the human race?

(d’Annunzio, my dear, did you see things as they really are?)

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