The New York Times Book Review

Poetry Round Table: What’s Your Favorite Poem?

ELENA FERRANTE: Amelia Rosselli (1930-96) is one of the Italian poets of the last century who pushed herself most forcefully, most painfully and most imprudently beyond the limits destiny had set for her. Among her many “superb sheets of disobedience,” I recommend “Sleep” (1953-66, but published in Italy in 1992), a collection of poems written in English in the grip of Italian. I especially love “Well, so, patience to our souls.” I like that word, “patience,” which, in the 10 lines that follow — in a jiffy run, as we are “left alone with our sister / navel” — is struck by aggressive verbs like run, snap, tear and ravish, and by “flaming strands of opaque red lava” while “the wind cries oof! / and goes off.”
— Elena Ferrante is the author, most recently, of the novel “The Story of the Lost Child,” the concluding volume of her Neapolitan tetralogy.