On December 2, 1938, Antonia Pozzi lay down in a field on the outskirts of Milan and swallowed poison. She died the following day, leaving behind diaries, notebooks and loose pages of poetry, documenting her twenty-six years of life. From these, her father Roberto Pozzi, a Milanese lawyer, selected and edited her first collection, publishing it as Parole the following year. References and dedications to her lover and classics tutor, Antonio Maria Cervi, were eliminated, titles were changed, lines were cut. It was reissued in 1948, still pockmarked by paternal censorship, but with a preface by Eugenio Montale. Subsequent volumes have restored much emotional and erotic honesty to the poems. Editions by Alessandra Cenni, Onorina Dino and other female scholars from the mid-1980s onwards have tempered what Peter Robinson describes in the introduction to his new translation of Pozzi’s poems as the “saccharine”, while a collection by Lawrence Venuti, Breath: Poems and letters (2002), modulated her northern European pitch to chime with American women modernists such as H. D. and Amy Lowell.

Antonia is screening at The Academy Gold in Christchurch on Sunday 18 June at 4.00pm & The Suter Theatre in Nelson on Friday 23 June at 2.00pm