Thursday, February 1, 2024







NILAVRONILL: Welcome to Our Poetry Archive, dear poet. And congratulations as the poet of this month. I would like to know your personal views on literature or poetry in general.

CONCETTA LA PLACA: First of all, I would like to express my gratitude and excitement for this prestigious invitation that came from a great international poet and great publisher. I think that literature, in a broad definition, is a vast world of thoughts, concepts, opinions, sensations, feelings, each captured in words, which can be meaningful to people. Within this world we can rediscover ourselves, find the personality that reflects us. For the human kind, literature is like a great encyclopedia: through the power of literature, we feel a connection with authors who have investigated within their soul centuries before we did. We connect with characters experiencing the same sensations we do, share questions and attempt answers which for generations have stimulated reflection, criticism and sensitivity. The entries in this encyclopedia have been compiled with the language that makes us dream and is part of creativity.

Literature allows us to see life reflected as if in a large room with parallel mirrors, which help us to get to know ourselves and get to know each other. Literature is the infinite image of our life and helps us stay on course in what Dante Alighieri defined as "the great sea of being". In the material and consumerist society in which we live, everything, even art, is subordinated to the laws of the market. And, in this context, it seems that for many young people, literature, which is an intangible asset, is considered useless because does not appear to satisfy their needs for immediate consumption and visibility. Then, we need to be patient and raise awareness to make them understand that literature, like poetry, is not a commodity but has an immaterial value that cannot be assessed by its physical weight, but nevertheless many of us will discover that, in our lives, it “weighs” more than a diamond ring or a luxury car. Furthermore, literature not only carries out a great educational function for individuals, but also has a very important function in the defence of democracy and serves to strengthen that sense of unity, of belonging to the human community, thanks to which all men enter into communication and can feel, in some way, solidarity. Not only does literature teach us to see the richness of human heritage in ethnic and cultural differences but it also contributes to the formation of responsible and critical citizens, it empowers our vocabulary, improve our language to be able to express our ideas better and more creatively. Refine everyone's sensitivity. On the contrary, without literature, the world would be a barbaric, uncivilized world, orphaned of sensitivity and critical sense. The stories of the books allow access to the sphere of feelings and emotions of the protagonists and in this way increase emotional literacy. The emotional vocabulary becomes broader and this improves the definition, expression and understanding of one's own and other people's emotions. Even poetry - starting from a brief definition which indicates that it is an art form that creates, with the choice and combination of words according to particular metric laws, a composition made up of sentences called verses, in which the semantic meanings are linked to the musical sound of phonemes, it is a type of writing that transmits emotions, the poet writes sentences in verse, plays with words, which most of the time have a hidden meaning. Poetry expresses the poet's imagination, inspiration comes from his experiences. In the beginning, before the invention of writing, poetry was oral. It was recited by storytellers. Poetry for me is text that starts from the creative feeling of the poet, which expresses emotions, thoughts and feelings and reflects and mixes with his imagination and creativity. The poem reflects the poet's state of mind, placed in a specific historical, social context and reaches the hearts of others, because whoever reads it activates different areas of the brain responsible for emotions. poetic language therefore exploits words that evoke feelings, emotions and images, adding meaning to them. The language of poetry is not the logical-rational one, but metaphorical and symbolic, the same language of fantasy. Poems can change the way we look at and listen to the world around us. The great poets of the past have offered us a vast and powerful vision of nature, life and man and we must always take this into account.

NILAVRONILL: What are the factors that have influenced you immensely in the growing phase of your literary life. When, most probably you were not certain of your future as a poet or writer. Do you think society as a whole is the key factor in shaping up you as a poet, or your poetry altogether?


CONCETTA LA PLACA: I started writing at a very young age. I was fifteen years old when one of my poems was published in an Italian weekly magazine. I believe that my literary education at school and the great poets studied at school, such as Boccaccio, Dante, Giacomo Leopardi, Montale, Ungheretti, had a great influence on shaping and refining my sensitivity. I was certainly also influenced a lot by the poetics of the great Italian poets I studied at school. I believe that the poetry of these greats allowed me to see the surrounding world not as something always and only taken for granted and ordinary, but also allowed me to grasp - together with all those emotions that these poets wanted to declaim with their verses and relatively to their historical and social context - even those nuances that without the verses I would not have been able to grasp and which would not have allowed me to have a more enlightening vision of what surrounds me in everyday ordinariness. Poetry has always been for me the ray of illuminating light, a special focus to observe everything that has always surrounded me, making me see the world through an emotional perspective different from that of ordinariness and indifference that the world itself posed, taking into consideration the places, the historical and social context, etc., starting first of all from my emotions, thoughts and inner feelings and giving space to my creativity, imagination to be able to describe something that is inside the person and about which everyone wonders and that the surrounding society neglects. It is in poetry that I have always found my refuge and the place to put my emotions, the regurgitation of my soul, trying not to keep them for myself, but giving them back to the surrounding world through the verses, as an antidote to indifference and emotional opacity in the world.

NILAVRONILL: Do you consider your literary life as an extension of your self-existence? If so, how it is related with the time around you?


CONCETTA LA PLACA: Certainly, through poetry I try to extend what is in me, in my most interior part and which surrounds my existence, but I am not subjected to external reality, in the sense that I start from it but I do not remain a prisoner in it, as a mere description. Poetry is for me a possibility to consider reality in an illuminating and imaginative way but it is not only this. I perceive my poetry as a tool that filters this reality of mine with my emotionality, so that from a reality that, at times, I don't like and don't yet know well, I can transmit a new reality, the desired one, enriched by my real emotions. So, through the verses I don't put a brake on my free imagination. Through the verses I can say what I desire and what I would like reality to be, while always starting from my real experience in the time I live. Furthermore, it is said that many poets have not considered poetry as a docile witness of the real, of the existent: it claims for itself the right to subject to its laws even the reality on which it feeds, to make that reality readable. And that's what I try to do. Starting from my reality, from my time and arriving at a poetry not subjugated by reality, but in osmosis with my desires, feelings and emotions which can be different from what I perceive from what surrounds me.


NILAVRONILL: As a poet, do socio-economy and politics in general influence your literary visions? If so how, and if not, why?

CONCETTA LA PLACA: My poetry is born, taking into account the historical, political, socio-economic context of my time, because these variables influence in some way, even unconsciously, my state of mind. Politics, in general, and socio-economics influence it in some way, but do not cage it. Because I always try, starting from reality, as I said in the previous answer, to have my say, not remaining tied to the conditions dictated by the contingent moment, but trying to go beyond, expressing myself and flying with creativity and my emotions, with my imagination and observing what is beautiful around me. My true feeling, which is certainly slightly influenced by it, tries to be something else, always putting my critical sense, my reflections and my sensitivity into play. It is through poetry that I try to shed light inside and outside of myself.

NilavroNill: Is it possible to put into the words everything that as a poet you wish to express literarily? If not, why?


CONCETTA LA PLACA: I believe that in poetry we should not use words that follow their primary or denotative meaning which is characteristic of prose, for me poetry is a widespread form of linguistic expression, which is regulated - as well as by precise metrical norms and rhythmic and in the contemporary world also of a free form -, above all from that poetic language which is the art of knowing how to exploit words that evoke feelings, emotions and images, adding a meaning to them ... therefore a large quantity of rhetorical figures, such as, for example, metaphors, similes, anaphors, synecdoches etc…Poetry manages to convey emotions and moods in a more evocative and solemn way than prose does. In my first Sylloge the international poet Nurul Hoque wrote that in my poetry I have composed a mystery behind a language accessible to all and which at first glance seems simple, but that the second meaning of the poem and the third poetic thought is repeatedly exposed in the text. He claims that this must be explained, because my poetry has within it the words, the images, the similes that give my verses an extraordinary evocative poetic style and, in doing so, I manage to reach all readers.


NilavroNill: Do you agree with John Keats (1795-1821) on his ardent believe, “Truth is beauty, beauty is truth”? Even if we take for instance the war of Kurukshetra, the conflicts between Kauravas and Pandavas, or the fall out of second world war in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, how can we manage to reconcile between those truths with beauty as promulgated by Keats?


CONCETTA LA PLACA: According to the English poet of romanticism, John Keats, poetry arises from the depths of the soul, surpasses life and becomes immortal. He argued that poetry is not intended to convey a message to readers, but to ignite the imagination through beauty, stimulating the five senses. The fundamental theme of his theory is the relationship between art, death and life. Keats had reflected on the immortality of art as opposed to the fleeting nature of life. I also partly have a romantic vision and I firmly believe that poetry and art survive death, overcoming the fleeting nature of life and time that flows inexorably and overcoming with imagination (the latter is connected to beauty), a reality that is often not beautiful, but one of death and destruction, as that of Hiroshima or Nagasaki is considered. As time passes, life ends, physical beauty (which is however closely connected to spiritual beauty) has its end. Only spiritual beauty, dictated by the stimulation of the imagination with the use of the five senses, capturing love, friendship, all the pleasures of life and poetry itself, is the product of the art that remains. And I fully agree with this romantic vision of Keats. A poet dies, but his poetics will remain and remain eternal. Beauty is inherent and comes from nature and in what exists in the creation that surrounds us and, once the senses capture it with the imagination, this is transformed into poetry and remains eternal. He maintained that once the senses have captured joy, it will remain joy forever. Keats' concept therefore surpasses the aforementioned historical events of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, where only death and destruction reign supreme. His theory and also that poetic ability, which he called negative capability, that is, the poet's ability to cancel his own identity to observe an object, which for him was a source of inspiration, and the possibility of identifying with it and detaching itself from the political, historical or social context. He argued that in this way he is able to seek sensations and through the imagination, which he considers more powerful than reason, a poet can see the beauty of things and create poetry which he believed was "something absolute" that he could overcome reality is not beautiful. So even in such a dramatic context as the one mentioned, the poet could seek beauty through his imagination and make poetry out of it. For him it was the only way to defeat death and live eternally. It is what Keats did when he observed the Elgin Marbles for hours that inspired one of his most beautiful odes: Ode on a Greek Urn. And I partly believe that he is right, because deep down I too have a romantic vision.


NilavroNill: Too many writers believe imagery is an essential part of poetry. Do you agree this notion? Even if we consider Leonardo da Vinci’s words that poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.


CONCETTA LA PLACA: Leonardo Da Vinci said: “Painting is a silent poetry, and poetry is a blind painting.” And how blind all the greatest poets truly seem to grope in the dark when faced with this question, demonstrating that poetry can do everything except explain itself. I fully agree. Poets know that words are created for normal, everyday use, but that it is their task to transform them into magical elements capable of creating something else, as Coleridge said "to create an alchemy between the reader and the writer: a voluntary suspension of disbelief”. I think that anyone who creates truly authentic poetry cannot explain it. It explains itself to readers who capture the beauty it contains and are moved in turn. All the greatest poets have always avoided giving a definition of poetry. Poetry means bringing Truth and Beauty. Illuminate the human mind, give light to the world. It is said that those who write poetry are as if they were practicing a real battle. I think true poetry can be considered as a liberating force that seeks beauty and elevates the soul of the person from human misery and its limits.


NilavroNill: Do you believe, passionately falling in love with a particular language is essential to excel in poetical ventures? And is it possible to write poems in multiple languages preserving same literary quality? We would like to know your own experiences.


CONCETTA LA PLACA: Surely a poet begins to write in his native language, but by virtue of the fact that once written poetry no longer belongs to us, but belongs to the world, it must certainly also be rewritten in another language. This activity means that it is sometimes necessary to change the perspective of how the words were inserted in order to convey well what the poet wanted to capture with his imagination and his feelings. I often had to translate my poems into English and Spanish and this translation activity into two languages other than mine gave me the opportunity to highlight other aspects of identity and perception of the world. This is because every language carries with it cultural values and is itself the object of attribution of such values. In bilingual writing, the inclusion of changes in perspective is fundamental in order to mediate. It is an internal mediation and leads to two texts: the original and its translation which, although similar, will never be perfectly identical.


NilavroNill: Do you consider poetry as an emotional outbursts of poet’s personal sentiments? Or is it a long journey to realize and express the universal sentiments beyond all personal limitations? Again, we want to understand your views through your personal experiences of your literary life as a poet.


CONCETTA LA PLACA: As I said before, having a romantic vision too, I firmly believe that the world, the cosmos, nature is always a stimulus for the birth of poetry, it continually speaks to us with small and large things. Poetry, as Keats says, must arise spontaneously and through the senses in order to best express one's emotions and feelings. Poetry is a human phenomenon and therefore, poetic language is born when something from reality strikes us, a thought or an often very strong emotion grips us. Everything can be poetry or inspiration for a poem, even things that we have always had in front of us in everyday ordinariness or situations and words that acquire a different flavour, suddenly become the object of poetry, because with the imagination they illuminate our heart, filling it with beauty and our mind so that we can elevate ourselves. The words are therefore transformed, giving life to what is inside the writer, concretizing their own internal reality which is filtered with what is beautiful our imagination has captured. I often say that the poet is a photographer who tries to immortalize that emotional reality that he has inside himself and that surrounds him, not with a photo, but with the use of assonances, similes, metaphors... with his own poetic language, which refers to emotions, thoughts and feelings that thrive within the poet and becoming a universal undercurrent, reach the hearts of all those who read. For example, although I don't often use rhymes and a rigid rhythm, but preferring, most of the time, the free form, with a simple language rich in metaphors, similes, I manage to reach all readers: the most erudite ones, but even to those who are not at all. So, from the beginning of a personal "feeling and imagining", the poet tries to make these emotions and this feeling universal. I have always believed that poetry should belong to everyone and should reach all readers, communicating sensations and feelings that are common and felt by all men.

NilavroNill: I would like to quote T. S. Eliot, “No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists.  You cannot value him alone; you must set him for contrast and comparison among the dead.” We would like to know your views in details on Eliot’s comments.


CONCETTA LA PLACA: In the Sacred Wood we remember that we have a very important essay by Eliot, entitled Tradition and Individual Talent, in which Eliot defines the poet's position regarding tradition. He states that tradition is the living set of valid works that have been written, from Homer to the present day, and that this past acts on every sensitive writer. Indeed, he states that the sensitive writer must "take" from this past, but not in a servile or mechanical way: a poet must revive within himself the greats of the past, who are dead biologically, but who, as poets, are always alive, much more than many people living today. I believe that Eliot's statement was an extraordinary novelty for that time (1920) and retains its value intact even today. In poetics, in general, we try to highlight what distinguishes a single author, originality is considered a virtue. Let us remember that for Eliot, however, virtue lies in fitting harmoniously into the "living together" of all the works from Homer onwards. He goes so far as to say that art must not be an affirmation of personality but "depersonalization", precisely in the sense of feeling part of a larger whole. When this happens – and this is the other great Eliotian axiom – “the present modifies the past”. Just as the past influences the present, so the present influences the past, because every new valid work that is added to that already existing whole imposes, in some way, a rearrangement. And therefore, this means that we must consider tradition as something not static, not fixed, not dusty, but dynamic and perpetually active. I believe the return to tradition should be perceived in this absolutely lively and modern sense. Moreover, I too do not deny the poetic traditions of the past, they are roots that cannot be eradicated, but they remain in our culture and in our way of writing poetry even if in this act we add modern elements of our time. I love the great Cecco Angiolieri, Petrarca, Dante, Boccaccio and others important Italian poets, but my poems now are in a free form and they reflect my time, while preserving the traditions of the poets of the past, now dead.


NilavroNill: Would you consider, it should be the goal of a poet to enlightens the readers towards much greater apprehensions as well as appreciations of life and eternity in general? Or is it better to write poems only to console the poet’s soul?


CONCETTA LA PLACA: I believe that poetry is the regurgitation of the poet's soul, which arises from an internal emotional state of the poet himself or from an external event or from a disturbance within him and therefore from a need to investigate his own interiority (emotions, thoughts, repressed feelings, unknown to oneself and to others, the fear of death, abandonment, loneliness, etc.) and, starting from this with a specific language for poetry, a language that often hides and does not reveal, but which allows one to understand and imagine, or which is made up of similes, metaphors, parallels, is evocative, reaches straight, like an underground river, to the hearts of the readers. Therefore poetry is born from the creativity, from the thoughts and emotions of the poet, but then if it is an honest and genuine poetry, it becomes universal poetry, for everyone, as it tends to deepen, to explore the human soul, not only of those who wrote a poem, but also of those who read it. The moment poetry is created by the poet it no longer belongs to those who created it, but becomes to humanity.


NILAVRONILL: We are almost at the end of the interview. I remain obliged to you for your participation. Now, personally I would like to know your honest opinion about Our Poetry Archive. Since April 2015 we are publishing and archiving contemporary world poetry each and every month. Thank you for sharing your views and spending much time with us.


CONCETTA LA PLACA: I find that your magazine (O. P. A.) as an Archive of World and Contemporary Poetry, is a very interesting magazine, because it publishes poems written by important and good poets from all over the world. Every poet, with the publication of his or her poem or ode in your international online magazine - considering that it represents an open window on the world, with a beautiful international view -, through verses and his or her verses, promulgates not only his unique style of writing, his thoughts and emotions, but also, through his verses, his own literary origins and also the traditions of his dead national poets with whom he has imbued himself and the origins and structure of his own language and indirectly of one's own historical, political and social context of one's own nation. This is a very important indicator, as this facilitates the promulgation and the exchange of international culture. Furthermore, it allows each poet to be able to express and promote the nuances and colours of his own thought and culture, different from others, and allows readers of all the different nations to grasp this cultural richness, nestled in the diversity of peoples and countries and in the diversity of their traditions, while always in the universal perspective of creativity and poetry itself, as this has always sought to explore and deepen everything that is human and of all humanity, poetry itself being a human phenomenon. Writing and publishing for this O.P.A. magazine represents a great honour for me and I sincerely pay my respect to the publisher NilavroNill Shoovro whom I thank very much for this beautiful magazine, giving space and voice to many authors of the international poetic scene. And that is really a great achievement and gift to all poets and readers. Thank you.


CONCETTA LA PLACA: The author, Concetta la Placa, was born in Caltanissetta in Sicily on 07/30/1960 and lives in Rome. From an early age she has always shown that she has a creative nature. She holds a degree in administration and management of social policies. She loves literature and poetry in general. She is passionate about reading and creative writing. In December 2020 her first collection of poems was published, entitled "Cosmic Love and Emotions in the Wind". It is a collection of 55 poems, all linked by a single common thread: Cosmic Love, which is love for the little things that surround us in this immensity and love for simplicity, enriched only by pure emotions and true feelings. The author has published several poems in numerous national and international anthologies of various authors and various contests to which she has contributed with her participation. The list of publications would be a bit long and is therefore omitted.



1 comment :

  1. It is a highly enriching interview ,which I would recommend every literature lover to read. Hearty congratulations to esteemed author Concetta La Placa and esteemed Editor ,Nilavro Nill Sir !