APT Basilicata

APT Basilicata

Basilicata turistica

Sinisgalli Leonardo

a cura di Giovanni Caserta

Leonardo Sinisgalli was born in Montemurro, in the province of Potenza, on March 9, 1908, and died in Rome on January 31, 1981. He was buried in his hometown. As an engineer, he worked for Pirelli, Finmeccanica and ENI. Founded and directed the magazine “Civiltà delle macchine”. His importance lies in his attempt to reconcile science and sentiment, geometry and art, mathematics and poetry.

Sinisgalli’s starting point was the belief, diffused in modern mathematics, that Euclidean geometry was no longer valid since it could not read and catch the real essence of things and universe. He meant that Euclidian geometry, so rational, so definite, and so closed in its schematic lines and rules, could tell us nothing about the infinite universe and worlds, about the ever changing reality, about the many figures existing outside the rational ones, which can not even be considered as proper figures. To triangles, squares, and cubes, Sinisgalli placed side by side, and opposed, helixes, screws, arcs, “beans”, that is to say a “Baroque” geometry. He could not forget that behind, and inside, every object there is a life, a motion, in his words, “an animation.” When confronted with this, the mathematician, knocked off his solid pedestal, finds himself suspended on the verge of the world, as dizzy as the poet. Mathematician Caccioppoli, who committed suicide, resembled Mallarmé very much. In other words, furor poeticus is not different from furor mathematicus, in so that both the poet and the mathematician question themselves about the mysteries of things.

In this “search”, some objects are more important, that is to say more “significant”, than others. They are more intensely “animated”, are more expressive than others. Twilights are an example. Objects of childhood, for instance, tell us more about life and its essence than those which followed. This is why Sinisgalli, uprooted from his town as a boy, forced to earn his living in the industry between Rome and Milan, has always had a retrospective approach, a search-of-lost-time attitude. His best poetry, therefore, is nearly completely devoted to the recovery of his memories, that is to say of his childhood, his house, his town, his father and, most of all, his mother, the queen taitù of his family. His poetry is packed with objects which are apparently insignificant but are all intensely held dear by his memory: the frying pan, peppers hung to dry, the fireplace, his primary school exercise-book, the vineyard, figs and turnips … This was to cause, consciously or not, his transition from the pure poetry of those years to an “impure” poetry, contaminated with social and realistic elements, whose fascination would have attracted the young Rocco Scotellaro who, having placed himself on the same path, would have accomplished, in the days of neo-realism, his revolution for a choral, epic, and socialist poetry.

Among his collection of lyrics, the most heartfelt are Vidi le muse, I Campi Elisi, Nuovi Campi Elisi, La vigna vecchia, and Dimenticatoio. Among his prose compositions, the most impostant are Belliboschi, Quaderno di geometria, Furor mathematicus, Un disegno di Scipione ed altri racconti.

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