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Elena Basile


Elena Basile is a teacher, translator, and poet whose work interrogates the spillages and constraints of translation as it moves along the queer edges of many interstitial dimensions. She teaches in the areas of translation studies, gender and sexuality, communication studies, and the health humanities at York University and at the University of Toronto. Her poetry is featured in the documentary Three Women: Adapting Lives Adopting Lines (Adriana Monti, AZ Media, 2010). She contributed to Here and Now: An Anthology of Queer Italian-Canadian Writing with a suite of poetic experiments in self-translation.  

Excerpt from Proximacies (2020) by Elena Basile

Per Angela 


Portami la morte in dono 

intaglio dritto al cuore 


apprenderò a farne rosa 

petalo per petalo sfogliando 

in tondo  

questa caduta 

al vuoto  

senza tregua 


eccitato alla delicatezza 

impassibile con cui mordi 

il filo d'ultima riga 

a offrirmi in pasto il mondo 


poche parole 

rosolate in gola 

nel silenzio delle dita al lavoro 

sulla tastiera 


Stupirà questo momento 

altrove quando di lettura  

s'affretterà l'ignoranza ardente 

d'un altro senso 

sospeso alla giuntura 

che scalcita  

dietro il verbo 


meta senza scampo 


solo fioritura 

For Angela 

Bring to me death as gift 

cut straight to the heart 


turn it into rose 

petal by petal leafing  


this ceaseless 


of nothings 


excited at the cool 

tenderness with which you bite  

the thread of the last line 

and feed me to the world 


few words 

lightly seared in the throat 

in the silence of fingers at work 

on the keyboard 


In the wonder of elsewheres 

of passion  

and ignorance 

quickened toward  

a different sense 

suspended at the seam 

thickening being 

into the fray  

of verb 

and blossom 

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