Sunday, November 1, 2020






NILAVRONILL: Why do literature and poetry in particular interest you so much? Please give us some idea about your own perception of literature or poetry in general.


ELISABETTA BAGLI: Literature is the foundation that opens up many creative paths through words. I like Literature because with it I can experience people’s ideas through words, interpreting several creative worlds. Reading, I can explore the most varied human emotions; discover what sensations produce laughter, fear, sighs and tears and how they are projected on paper by the writer who has the gift of transferring them and connecting them to the reader. Literature is an art that contains a mixture of objectivity and subjectivity –fundamental to create one’s own style-, it is multifunctional, and it fills our thoughts, occupies our attention and enriches our knowledge. Literature is information, diversion and a teaching tool. In Literature I like Poetry the most, because in a verse there is a world. Often Poetry is silence, an intimate and powerful voice used to sing to life, to its colours, a voice that listens to the sound of the soul, travelling between emotions, among your own ghosts. Poetry is a voice that frees fears, smiles, love, beauty and human hope. All this and much more is Poetry. I love to say that we are Poetry in every breath.



NILAVRONILL: How do you relate your own self existence with your literary life in one hand, and the time around you, in the other.


ELISABETTA BAGLI: I live my day as it presents itself, with work and family commitments, I see friends, I walk in the park, I go to the museum. Writing is within me and everything arises from the observation of my surroundings and from what my soul feels as I observe. My verses are born everywhere, on the bus, while I go shopping, while I’m walking, while I’m cooking. I always have a piece of paper and a pen with me so that inspiration doesn’t go away. Sometimes, I have to review that inspiration, other times it remains exactly as it was written in the first draft. Writing implies an attitude that filters the world through one’s own personal feelings. I have two children, teenagers and I try to stay with them if they need me. They and my husband help me so much in every task, even of literature. So I can say that I’m a very lucky woman.



NILAVRONILL: Do you believe creative souls flourish more in turmoil than in peace?


ELISABETTA BAGLI: Pablo Picasso said that the great enemy of creativity is common sense. Perhaps, this is why being creative has been popularly associated with turmoil. But this is not generally the case. There are two types of art: the one that artists produce in a period of calm and the one that artists produce when something intimate inside of them moves their soul and they feel something related to the society in which they live and use art and their creativity as tools to denounce. The Spanish poet, Gabriel Celaya understood the social power of poetry and used it as “a weapon charged of future”. We know that creativity is the daughter of freedom of thought and is the enemy of conventional thought. Only starting from a vacuum, we may create, because if we start with what is already known, we really don’t do anything new, but modify or adapt what is already known. Creating is a mix between skills (knowledge) and attitudes (self-confidence, ambition, motivation, curiosity or search for sensations). Creativity is generated by introducing stimulus in life. Many times, this stimulus arises even in bad times: situations that force you to look for alternatives, or that destroy routines in which you felt trapped to then set you free. In this sense, we can say that turmoil is a great ally of creativity. As for me, I can say that I write in both moments: when I feel peace to praise nature and love for my husband, my children, my life and when I feel something inside of me that does not let me be at peace and wants to go out like a swollen river. So, although it may be thought that creativity arises only in difficult moments, I can say that it is not true.



NILAVRONILL: Do you think in this age of information and technology the dimensions of literature have been largely extended beyond our preconceived ideas about literature in general?


ELISABETTA BAGLI: Literature, for sure, continually adapts to the times we live in and, as a result, technology is currently an integral part of a writer’s life. Now we can no longer perform without social media, digital magazines and other platforms through which we can promote ourselves and make ourselves known to the whole world. In this way I believe that technology is very helpful, especially in this particular period we are experiencing due to Covid19: without technology we would not have been able to connect with each other, we would have remained isolated and we would not have been able to enjoy all those virtual events that help us and our art to remain alive.



NILAVRONILL: Now, in this changing scenario we would like to know from your own life experiences as a poet, writer and a creative soul: How do you respond to this present time?


ELISABETTA BAGLI: Well, I think all professions are in a difficult time. Culture is too, unfortunately. I hope we can soon return to something similar to how we lived before. I believe that, in this difficult moment, a lot of hidden creativity has emerged, even culturally and I really hope we can enjoy this in the best way. I have stopped some projects of mine due to Covid19 and postponed them to next year, but I’m always working in future new projects with some friends of mine, because Poetry and Literature live despite the pandemic.



NILAVRONILL: Do you believe that all writers are by and large the product of their nationality? And is this an incentive for or an obstacle against becoming a truly international writer?


ELISABETTA BAGLI: I do believe so, because writers always make reference to the culture, they grew up in. But as we mature, we acquire more knowledge of life and of the world around us and we are more inclined to leave our local reality, overcoming some barriers, especially of a cultural and linguistic nature, with the aim of making ourselves known beyond our borders.  I’m lucky because I live the poetic and literary reality of two cities, Rome and Madrid, and therefore Italy and Spain. Rome is the eternal city with a vast cultural heritage due to its history and it is an extraordinary environment to be inspired in. Madrid, my adoptive city since 2002, is a more modern city which is reflected in the attitude of the people who live in it, that are more projected towards the outside and the future. I write and I speak in a bilingual way, because I know the Spanish culture, the Spanish way of life and the way of speaking of Spanish people and I can express myself in Spanish accurately. Knowing also English and French, it is not difficult for me to speak other languages ​​to make myself known and appreciated.



NILAVRONILL: Now, if we try to understand the tradition and modernism, do you think literature can play a pivotal role in it?  If so, how? Again, how can an individual writer relate himself or herself to the tradition and to modernism?


ELISABETTA BAGLI: I think that every new artistic-literary movement has developed from the previous one, often overturning its characteristics. The modernism in literature was characterized by a very conscious break with traditional writing methods, in the fields of both poetry and prose. The explicit intention of modernism was subverting the usual ways of representation, expressing a new sensibility more in line with the spirit of the time. I think that it is not possible to understand modernism, nor any other artistic-literary movement, if the previous ones have not been studied and analysed first. Literature is always the central pivot to understand historical evolution and the anxieties of the human soul which then led to art. For this reason, I believe that literature has always played an important role in shaking consciences and bringing innovation to every field. It has always been like this and it will be in the future as well.



NILAVRONILL: Do you think literary criticism has much to do with the development of a poet and the true understanding of his or her poetry?


ELISABETTA BAGLI: For sure, receiving criticism of your work is an honour, be it positive or negative. All criticisms are constructive, even negative ones, because they underline certain aspects that writers need take into consideration by questioning themselves and either refine their style or affirm it. In other words, literary criticism is necessary to make the poet better. There are various types of literary criticism, some academic and others that come simply from readers. Logically, they have two different values, but both are useful in order to provide a global view of the readers’ opinion on one’s work. Knowing that you have created verses in which the reader identifies, for poets is a real gift and stimulates them to continue in that direction, increasing their self-esteem.



NILAVRONILL: Do you think society as a whole is the key factor in shaping you up as a poet, or your poetry altogether?


ELISABETTA BAGLI: Yes, I think that in my poetry I often refer to the society around me, even if I choose to write about topics from the past.

Readers may find that the topics of my poetry in my books “Voce” (“Voice”, which also has its own Spanish version “Voz”), “Dietro lo sguardo” (“Behind the gaze”), “Le nostre due anime” (“Our two souls”) and “Dal Mediterraneo” (“From the Mediterranean”) are very different from each other, both because of the topics covered and because of the type of writing adopted, suitable for each theme. Either way it is always my own style, direct and transparent. In “Voce” I deal with life in its various aspects: love, family, places of the heart, those from my childhood and those from now. In the second edition, I added to it a section concerning women and gender-based violence, since over the years I took interest in this theme and I decided to include it in the book that represents my “poetic voice”. “Dietro lo sguardo” is a book about love and disaffection, divided into two sections: Light and Dark. The writing aims to make the reader feel the contrast existing between Love, the true, passionate and tender one, and that disaffection that brings the darkness of the soul and the body that causes sexism and violence against women that, unfortunately, still happens regularly. “Le nostre due anime” is about love in different time periods, an ancient one, between Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning, and a contemporary love, between John Lennon and Yoko Ono who believed to be the reincarnation of the two English poets. I consider this to be an original book that approaches the classics and daily life with the only common thread of love. The book also proves the strength and courage that Elizabeth Barrett Browning had in order to carry out her ideas in the Victorian era, a very difficult and restrictive era especially for women. For this reason, she then escapes to Florence with her love, having married him in secret and lives a life free from some social conventions that imprisoned her even more than her illness. “From the Mediterranean” is a trip through my ancient sea, a trip I took with my friend, the Greek poetess Sofia Skleida. In this book the key is the representation of how water, our mother, sustains all the bonds between living beings, but unfortunately it is also the grave of many people travelling in small boats hoping to find a better life on the other side of the Mediterranean.



NILAVRONILL: Do you think people in general actually bother about literature?  Do you think this consumerist world is turning the average man away from serious literature?


ELISABETTA BAGLI: In Italy and in Spain, the same complaint is always repeated, namely that poetry is often written only for poets. This brings us directly to the contradiction that the writer and critic Giorgio Manacorda said: “In Italy there are more people who write poems than those who read it”. The world of poetry is strongly subject to following the path that publishing houses mark. The problem, therefore, is that currently, although there are good poets who write several genres of poetry, these are not widespread in the bookstores. For this reason, if in the bookstore (even the virtual ones) there is little poetry only represented by the usual poets, these are the only the poets who will be read, other poets will hardly emerge. This is why, other forms of poetic diffusion are necessary, such as events and readings in which people who are truly interested in poetry take part, regardless of the poet’s name. The crisis of poetry is everywhere and, unfortunately, even the good Italian and Spanish poets, despite being interpreters of their reality, have encountered the same objective difficulties. It is difficult to find public or private funding for publishing the book or literary shows that are generally self-financed by the poets themselves. Good culture must be widespread and to be so it must be within everyone’s reach, which is why it should always be financed.



NILAVRONILL: We would like to know the factors and the peoples who have influenced you immensely in the growing phase of your literary life.


ELISABETTA BAGLI: I’ve always written, but I didn’t know that what I wrote could be of interest to others. Writing and reading are innate activities in my way of being. I just had to realize that what I wrote could be read. One day, a friend of mine who knew me well and knew my writing too, advised me to launch myself into this world and thus my first book “Voice” was born and now, after a long time, I am still here! I like Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, they are truly extraordinary poetesses. Reading their poems has given me the opportunity to explore other worlds and other eras. I also really like Borges, Salinas and Alberti, incredible poets, each with their own passions, illusions and visions of life. The writers I love the most are Pirandello and Oscar Wilde, for their way of representing reality through the masks that human beings are inclined to wear to solve and live their life. With all these authors, and with many others, I learned to read myself from the inside and we all know that introspection is fundamental for writing, especially poetry.



NILAVRONILL: How would you evaluate your contemporaries and what are your aspirations for or expectation from the younger generation?


ELISABETTA BAGLI: Considering my reality, I can say that both contemporary Italian and Spanish writers and poets are doing a great deal to carry on the bastion of culture in my two countries. Among the Italians we can include Claudia Piccinno, Maria Grazia Calandrone, Milo De Angelis, Michela Zanarella and among the Spanish ones we can include Izara Batres, Raquel Lanzeros, Antonio Colinas, Juan Carlos Mestre.

I believe that people like poetry in general, but poetry books are not really bought, because even if people are interested in poetry they are not really interested in reading it. I think however that young people even if they don’t read as much poetry are closer to it since they have understood the social power of poetry. Regardless, poetry reading should be more stimulated and we should always remember what the CNR (National Reserch Council of Italy) wrote about the crisis of the book and the editorial market: “A country that does not read does not progress” and I completely agree.  Poetically, young people promise well, but they don’t read much. In this way, their opportunities for knowledge will diminish and it will be more difficult for them to emerge.



NILAVRONILL: Humanity has suffered immensely in the past, and is still suffering around the world. We all know it well. But are you hopeful about our future?


ELISABETTA BAGLI: Seeing what is happening in our society, I see a world without empathy where visual and auditory contact will become more and more virtual. I think that the culture of isolation becomes a trap and this makes us forget that nothing can replace a gaze, holding someone else’s hand or a smell. This is absolutely necessary in life and in art in all its meanings. I love to hope a future where light and beauty will triumph.



NILAVRONILL: What role can literature in general play to bring a better day for every human being?


ELISABETTA BAGLI: As the philosopher Umberto Galimberti says: “young people no longer understand what is beautiful, what is right, what is sacred, they understand only what is useful”. They think that literature is useless and are indifferent towards it. Young people should be encouraged to enjoy literature, but without other people imposing it to them. But if young people do not find a renewed interest in literature, the effects that could derive from it would be very serious, as we would be in a world condemned to impoverish itself on a spiritual and social level and to endanger our freedom. Literature plays a great educational function, enriching our vocabulary and our expressive power, but also an important function in the defence of democracy and serves to strengthen the sense of unity and belonging to the human community, thanks to which all men enter in communication and may feel in some way solidarity. Galimberti also says that literature serves above all to educate our feelings. By reading good novels we can teach our children about the ethnic and cultural differences that make up the wealth of human heritage. Thanks to books we can cultivate a sympathetic imagination and develop the ability to assume the positions of people very different from us, a necessary skill for the development and duration of a democracy. Without literature, the world would be a world without freedom, because if you don’t read, you don’t think and you don’t have knowledge and people, being less aware of their life and the reality they live, are more easily influenced and, therefore, less free. This is why I believe that to be fully alive it is absolutely necessary to read novels, poetry, stories and thus educate our existence to freedom.


ELISABETTA BAGLI was born in Rome (Italy) and she has lived in Madrid (Spain) since 2002. She has a degree in Economics and Business from La Sapienza in Rome. She is a writer of poetry, short stories and essays and she is also a translator and interpreter of Spanish. Some of her poems and writings have been translated into thirteen languages. She is the author of several poetry books, a compilation of stories, a children’s book, and articles and essays for newspapers and digital magazines around the world. Operating in more than a hundred national and international anthologies, she is the President and a Former member of the Jury in many national and international literary prizes. She is the National Secretary for Spain of the AIM (Association for Italy in the World) based in Rome (Italy), an association that has a wide distribution in more than fifty countries. She is a correspondent in Spain for Radio ICN NY, the radio station for Italians in New York (USA). She is the correspondent of the World Festival of Poetry in Spain. She is the correspondent in Spain for the Poetry Sound Library and the Voices of the Trees, projects conceived in London (UK) by the artist Giovanna Iorio and disseminated all over the world. She has been an Honorary Member of NGO THRibune, Tribune for Human Rights since December 2019, based in Madrid (Spain), organization which she collaborates with. She is an Honorary Member of the International University of Peace, based in Lugano (Switzerland). She is an Honorary Member of the Cultural Association L’Oceano nell’Anima, based in Bari (Italy). Since October 31st, 2016, she has been an Academic at the Accademia Internazionale Il Convivio in Castiglione di Sicilia (Italy). She has collaborated with the Com.It.Es in the Italian Consular Network of Madrid (Spain) and with the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Madrid (Spain) for the organization of cultural events. She has collaborated with the Esther Koplowitz Foundation, based in Madrid (Spain). She has received many prestigious awards, including the Mayte Spínola Diploma of Honor for artistic merit from the Pro Arte y Cultura group in 2017 (Spain), the Distinction for Outstanding Woman in culture, 2019 awarded by the Latin American Women’s Forum, Mar del Plata (Argentina), the Italian Award for Culture 2019 awarded by the Italian Ambassador Stefano Sannino in Madrid (Spain), Najiman Prize in Lebanon on July 2020 and many others prizes in Italy, in Spain and all over the world for cultural merits.

Her website is:

1 comment :

  1. dear Nil, dear Elisabetta, I appreciate a lot this interview, you spread lots of seeds to discuss about. Congratulations both of you