From today it is in the bookshop «Confessione senza altari» (Diana editions, pp. 274, € 10), anthology of verses by Visar Zhiti, considered, together with Ismail Kadare, one of the highest points of contemporary Albanian literature. The volume, edited by Elio Miracco, has a preface by Sebastiano Grasso. We anticipate a part of it. Visar Zhiti is, as the saying goes, "son of art". His father, Hekuran, was an actor, poet and playwright, but, persecuted by the regime, he had never been able to publish his writings alive (today he is a fairly well-known author in Albania, but he deserved more)
What does it mean? That since an early age, Visar (Durazzo, 1952) has been involved with theater and literature. And, unfortunately, he followed the same fate as his parent: arrested, in the 1979, for his anti-regime verses, tried and sentenced to ten years of forced labor in the mines. Certainly some of his friends went worse: shot or hanged. Visar has not served his entire sentence: he left two years earlier, in the 1987. But the stigmata remained. As well as the memories that generate anxieties, anxieties, torments.I met Zhiti in Milan, in September of the 1991. He had arrived in the Lombard capital a few months earlier with Lanfranco Vaccari, a race journalist. Thus, he arrived at the Corriere della Sera for an internship.
Medium stature, rather massive, curly hair, expressed itself in an approximate Italian and could not always finish the sentence. He practiced in editing and, at the same time, he translated poetry and stories from the Italian into Albanian for the newspapers of Tirana.
It beat hundreds of pages (especially verses and stories) with a very old Olivetti who was at least twenty, recovered somewhere. A reaction, probably, to the ban on writing, in the cell.
Now he could let off steam, stop on the page the new feelings of a free man, look around and light up before the eyes of the women he had dreamed of for years.
Every so often a deep breath, to suck the air of freedom, even made his head spin. He did not smile often, but when he did it on his face wrinkles formed which we pretended not to see.
He was hungry for reading, but he didn't have enough money to buy books. The most appreciated gift for an anniversary? Books, only books.
His desire to read was so strong that, from time to time, he told us that in a few days he would celebrate his name day or birthday. I think he managed to make five or six in a year. When he announced them, we were all caught in amnesia and winked. And so, on the full day, greetings were always accompanied by editorial packages.
He ate with us at the newspaper canteen and often took him around the city. The thing that surprised him most was the supermarkets. All that abundance amazed him (...).
In 1997, Zhiti publishes his first collection of poems in Italy Croce di carne, edited by Elio Miracco, a dramatic testimony of his personal history, which, of course, coincides with that of his country (...).
Here, now, the second, Confession without Altars, where Visar, once again, delivers his dramatic life in verses that become the mirror "of the history of his nation" (...).
Poet and gladiator. Poet and musician. Poet and knight of the Holy Sepulcher. Poet and artist. Poet and soldier. Poet and railwayman. Poet and soothsayer. Poet and doctor. Poet and migrant. Poet and worker. Poet and angel. In order not to fall into a desperation with no way out, Visar invents different aspects and roles from day to day because, in the end, he wants to remain only a poet.
Article by Sebastiano Grasso, courtesy of.Original article
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