Italo Calvino Archive

“Adventure of a Skier” and Calvino’s Theory of Lightness

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Last week, the New Yorker released the first English translation of Italo Calvino’s “The Adventure of a Skier,” which first appeared in the 1970 short story collection Difficult Loves. How does this “new” story fit into the themes and philosophical musings of the work as a whole?

Space Fiction vs. Space Discovery

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Much of Earth is no longer habitable; still, the child reaches for the milk, the branch drinks from the root, and time goes on. You don’t remember when or where you heard it, but every so often you yearn for the reminder that the stars look very different today.

L’Appel du Vide: On Visual Caesuras and Erasure

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I take the five students of my poetry micro-workshop outside to discuss Claudia Emerson’s latest collection Impossible Bottle. As we sit in the sun, bending over the brilliant bright book pages, a student points to the poem “Metastasis: Web” and volunteers to read it aloud before our analysis of

The Formal Imagination of Oulipo

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Founded in 1960 by a collective of French mathematicians and writers, Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle (Workshop of Potential Literature), or Oulipo, was established to identify new forms of writing using numerical and alphabetical constraints. Early member Georges Perec, for example, structured his novel Life A User’s Manuel according to

The Magic of Objects

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“I would say that the moment an object appears in a narrative,” Italo Calvino writes, in Six Memos for the New Millennium, “it is charged with a special force and becomes like the pole of a magnetic field, a knot in the network of invisible relationships. The symbolism of

The Color Master: An Interview with Aimee Bender

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Certain stories never leave you. When I was six years old, I read such a story in Alvin Schwartz’s In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories: “The Green Ribbon.” In it, a young girl named Jenny wears a green ribbon around her neck and never takes it off.

“He Had Crossed to Arrive There”: A Playlist for Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities

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Every time I read Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities I get something different from it.  Like NPR’s Eric Weiner writes, “I leave it, again and again, and yet never discover it—never really know it.” This latest reading, for me, boils down to one thing: the act of searching, of trying

Town of Shadows

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Town of Shadows Lindsay Stern Scrambler Books, 2012 96 pages $12 What: a debut prose-poem novella Who: the eponymous town of shadows And: its cast of shadowy characters, including a rug doctor, a lepidopterist, bureaucrats, a bodiless mayor speaking from a gramophone that sputters ash, a child with an