Thoughts from Antonia Pozzi

Sometimes we write self-fulfilling prophecies. Or if we don’t write them, then we certainly think them. It is often difficult to change the path one is on once we’ve subconsciously decided that that is our fate. It is not hopeless, however, as by sometimes being aware of ourselves to that extent allows us to change the course of our thinking.

Antonia Pozzi wrote ‘io credo e temo che una vera donna non sarò mai, che anzi, cercando malamente di esserlo, finirei col perdere la parte più vera e meno banale di me‘ – I think and fear that a real woman I will never be, that indeed, in trying hard to be one, I will end up losing the most real and less trivial part of myself.

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Antonia Pozzi took poison aged twenty-six in 1938. It is easy to see the tragedy in her words and writings, and to see her sadness. She was a young woman who had been separated from her lover by her family, and she was never to reconnect with him.

I often wonder how I came to write poetry. When I was a teenager I thought that it was the least likely of the genres for me to pursue. It seemed so unnatural, and something that would take years and years to craft to any particular standard. Then when I started writing it I realised, it was because I had felt something.

When we are teenagers we believe we know it all, and that we will never be more than we are in that moment, but it is not true. There is infinitely more to life, and only when you have felt those highs, lows, and everything in between, can you begin to articulate it.

Is this why we often refer to the great artists, authors, poets, musicians as “tortured geniuses”? Is it because in order to create what they do they have to have felt something so deeply that it hurts? It is clear that Pozzi felt extremely deeply for the man she loved, writing at the height of their affair;

‘Words – glass
that unfaithfully
reflects my sky –

I thought of you
after sunset
in a darkened street
when a pane fell to the stones
and its fragments at length
spread shattered light -‘

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