Virgilio Giotti, Triestine Venetian Poet

Repost from the old site.
Let’s take a look again at Triestine Venetian.
Virgilio Giotti was a famous poet who wrote in Triestine Venetian. He was born in 1885 in Trieste, a child of Riccardo Schonbeck and Emilia Ghiotto. He died in Trieste in 1957. He is considered to be the most important Triestine Venetian author. For this, he was honored in 1957 by the Accademia dei Lincei.
Highly-regarded critics such Mario Fubini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Gianfranco Contini, Cesare Segre and Franco Brevini enthusiastically described Virgilio Giotti as one of the most important Italian writers in Italian “dialects” of the 1900’s.
From 1907 to 1919 he lived in Firenze. In 1912, he met Nina Schekotoff, a Russian from Moscow, the only woman he ever loved. In Tuscany, she bore him three children – Natalia, (Tanda), Paolo and Franco. Sons Paolo and Franco both died in Russia during World War 2.
Giotti first book was Piccolo Canzoniere in Dialetto Triestino, published in Florence in 1914.
He became famous in 1937, when the great critic Pietro Pancrazi, in a review in Corriere Della Sera pointed out the anti-dialectal character of Giotti: his poetry was described as écriture d’artiste (literary writing) or patois de l’ame (the language of love).
Pancrazi described Giotti as a poet who wrote mainly in dialect, but he differed from the usual poetry of Italian “dialects” that was often folkloric, standardized, generic, etc.
Giotti spoke Tuscan Italian as his principal language, and he considered Triestine Venetian as “the language of the poetry” only – that it only had a literary and cultural value, but was not useful beyond that.
Giotti’s Triestine Venetian lexicon was impoverished and full of simple words, with only a very sparse use of idioms. Giotti’s Trieste was far from the Trieste of Svevo, Saba and other writers: there’s no Port wine, no psychoanalysis and no Mitteleuropa.
Giotti’s world is one of sensations, little places, family and friends, the arcana of quotidian existence. He was a romantic poet of everyday life.
Let’s look at one of Giotti’s poems, With Bolàffio, in classic Triestine Venetian, then in modern Triestine Venetian, then in an Italian translation by Antonio Guerra (Italian language link) or Tonino Guerra (a famous Italian screenwriter), (Italian language link) and finally I will try to translate it into literary English.
If you think you can do a better job of translating this into nice poetic English, even a line or two, give it a shot. This translation stuff is kind of fun!
Con Bolàffio
Virgilio Giotti

Classic Triestine Venetian
Mi e Bolàffio, de fazza
un de l’altro, col bianco tavoja
de la tovàia in mezo,
su i goti e el fiasco in fianco,
parlemo insieme.
Bolàffio de ‘na piazza
de Gorìzia el me conta,
ch’el voria piturarla:
‘na granda piazza sconta,
che nissun passa.
Do tre casete atorno
rosa, un fiatin de muro,
un pissador de fero
vècio stravècio, e el scuro
de do alboroni.
Xe squasi mezogiorno
E un omo, vignù fora
de là, se giusta pian
pian, e el se incanta sora
pensier. Bolàffio
in ‘sta su piazza bela,
noi, poeti e pitori,
stemo ben. La xe fata
pròpio pai nostri cuori,
caro Bolàffio.
In quel bel sol, in quela
pase, se ga incontrado
i nostri veci cuori;
là i se ga saludado
stassera alegri.
Con Bolàffio
Virgilio Giotti

Modern Triestine Venetian
Mi e Bolàffio, de muso
un co’ l’altro, col bianco tavoja
dela tovaia in mezo,
su i calici e il fiasco de fianco
parlemo insieme.
Bolaffio, de ‘na piazza
de Gorizia il me conta
ch’el voleria piturarla
‘na grande piazza sconta
che nessun passa
Do tre casete atorno
rosa, un fiatin de muro
un pisador de fero
vecio stravecio, e il scuro
de do alberoni
Xe quasi mezogiorno
E un omo, vignù fora
de là, se giusta pian
pian, e il se incanta sora
pensier. Bolàffio
in ‘sta sua piaza bela
noi, poeti e pìtori
stemo ben. La xe fata
proprio pei nostri cuori
caro Bolaffio
In quel bel sol, in quela
pase, se ga incontrado
i nostri veci cuori;
là i se ga saludado
stasera alegri
Con Bolàffio
Virgilio Giotti

Italian translation by Antonia Guerra
Io e Bolaffio, l’uno
di fronte all’altro, col bianco
della tovaglia in mezzo,
i bicchieri alzati e accanto il fiasco,
parliamo insieme.
Bolaffio mi racconta di una piazza
di Gorizia, che vorrebbe dipingerla:
una grande piazza nascosta,
dove nessuno passa.
Due tre casette intorno,
rosa, un poco di muro,
un pisciatoio di ferro,
vecchio stravecchio, e lo scuro
di due alberoni.
È quasi mezzogiorno.
E un uomo, venuto fuori di lì,
si mette a posto pian piano,
s’incanta sopra pensiero. Bolaffio,
in questa sua piazza bella,
noi, poeti e pittori, stiamo bene.
È fatta proprio per i nostri cuori,
caro Bolaffio.
In quel bel sole, in quella pace,
si sono incontrati i nostri vecchi cuori;
là si sono salutati stasera, allegri.
With Bolàffio
Virgilio Giotti

English translation by Robert Lindsay
Bolaffio and I, face
To face, sitting down
At a table dressed in white
In the middle
Picking up the wineglasses and a bottle nearby
Together we’re talking
Bolaffio is telling me
He would like to draw
A picture of a square in Gorizia
It’s a big hidden square
Nobody is walking through
2 or 3 small houses around
Rose-colored, a small wall
An iron pissoir*
Very old, and the dark shadows
From a couple of trees
It’s around noon
And a man came out
Of that pissoir
Slowly, he buttons up his pants
And he stops himself
No thoughts in his head
Bolaffio
In his nice square
We, painters and poets
We feel good here
It was created just for our hearts
Dear Bolaffio
In this nice sunshine, In this
Peace, our old hearts
Have met each other
And tonight
They’re enjoying each other
*pissing place= Vespasiano, where to piss
My friend Paolo describes Giotti’s language as the old “Modern” Triestine Venetian.

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