Semicerchio is the first Italian journal of comparative poetry, having been founded in Florence by a group of writers and scholars in 1985, now based at the University of Siena, Center for Comparative Studies “I Deug-Su”. Semicerchiofocuses on poetry from the antiquity to the present with special attention to the international scenario and intercultural relationships, and to thematic criticism and the literature of migrants.
Semicerchio features a section devoted to anthropological issues explored in their poetical expression through scholarly research and anthologies of texts. Other sections include essays, new poems from Italy and abroad, and a large number of book reviews from all around the world covering, among others, classical and medieval poetry, performative verse, Arabic, African, Iranic, Lithuanian, Greek and Indian poetry. A strict philological approach to the analysis and the selection of the texts, together with a careful attention to the cultural and social changes makes Semicerchio one of the most advanced and consulted instruments of research among scholars and lovers of poetry in Italy and abroad – an ideal bridge between research, criticism and up-to-date education.
Thirty specialists in European and non-European poetry form the editorial staff of Semicerchio which, through the years, has hosted the writing and the poems of eminent contributers such asHoracio Armani, Mario Benedetti, Josif Brodskij, Hans Georg Gadamer, Seamus Heaney, Jorie Graham, Antony Hecht, Günter Kunert, Reiner Kunze, Mario Luzi, Les Murray, Jarosłav Mikołajewski, Álvaro Mutis, Robert Pinsky, Edoardo Sanguineti, Charles Simic, Wole Soyinka, Charles Wright, Andrea Zanzotto, Jan Ziolkowski, Paul Zumthor, Pier Vincenzo Mengaldo, Yukō Fujimoto, Ol’ga Sedakova, Yoshimasu Gōzō, Mohammed Bennis, Michel Deguy, Tzvetan Todorov, Michail Gasparov, Wole Soyinka, Alicia Ostriker, Jore Graham, Adonis, Seamus Heaney, Charles Simic, Yves Bonenfoy, Dieter M. Gräf, Jean-Marie Gleize, Jesper Svenbro, as well as younger writers. Among the latters, the Italian poets Rosaria Lo Russo, Giacomo Trinci, Elisa Biagini, Antonello Satta Centanin (Aldo Nove), Enzo Fileno Carabba, and Federico Condello have published first on Semicerchio. The journal has also hosted a large number of first translations from ancient, medieval and modern poetry (for a list please consult http://www.unisi.it/semicerchio).
The journal is peer rewieved and the articles and texts submitted to “Semicerchio” are evaluated by competent members of the international Advisory Board. “Semicerchio” complies with the ERIH-Plus criteria. Abstracts in English and affiliations of the authors are listed in the website.
Since 1989, Semicerchio has organized a series of public events, in cooperation with Italian and foreign institutions, such as the yearly Workshop of Poetic Writing co-produced with the city of Florence and attended by students and poets from all over Italy which is the first example in Tuscany of a creative writing school. This educational experiment has now been brought to the attention of readers in recent histories of militant contemporary literature (see, for instance, Le regioni della poesia, Milan 1996; Lezioni di poesia, Florence 2000) for its interactive methodologies, developed under the leadership of eminent scholars and poets, and for its international frame of reference. Besides poetry lessons, in the years writing and screenwriting courses have been added. Some of the courses organized by Semicerchio have grown within research projects developed with public institutions in Florence, in Rimini and elsewhere, sometimes under the aegis of the European Commission. Among these institutions are the Ministero dei Beni Culturali, Gabinetto Vieusseux, British Institute, Carlo Marchi Foundation, Syracuse University, Franceschini Foundation, Institut Français, and the Italian Culture Institut in Munich.
The most relevant cultural enterprises include the International Seminar of Comparative Metrics in 1994 (with Michail Gasparov), the Josif Brodsky Lectures in 1995, a three-day conference on Montale translated by poets in 1996, a four-day meeting on Bible and Poetry from the Middle Ages to ‘900 in 1997, seminars on Interculturality of European Poetry in 1998-99, from 2000 on the Festival of Medieval Poetry at Rimini, a reading by Derek Walcott promoted by the Foundation Il Fiore in 2000, the 2006 festival Dante. Arte generating art, from 2007 on the poetic readings of Confluenze in Arezzo. In the same year in Lugano the roundtable, and exhibition of the magazine issues for the twentieth anniversary of “Semicerchio” (Il trovatore stanco. Sul mandato sociale del poeta]) and at the Turin International Book Fair; in 2008 the meeting in Thessaloniki about the Social Role of Poetry within the International Poetry Day; in 2010 the seminar with Antonio Carvajal for the Ceppo Prize and with José Marìa Micò; the roundtable “The Many Languages of Medieval Lyric” at the 2010 edition of the festival “Translate (in) Europe” in Naples; organization of the conference “The Mechanic Reader”, whose proceedings appeared in issue 53 of “Semicerchio”; the lectio magistralis by Zhai Yong-Ming in March 2012; a conference in honor of Séamus Heaney in 2013; the lectio magistralis of Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham in 2014; the meeting “The Poetical Kitchen”, simple food and spiritual nourishment from classical Greece to contemporary Syria in 2015.
The association Cenobio Fiorentino, strictly connected with Semicerchio, has become the interpreter of cultural and civil issues and has worked actively in the promotion and in the realization of events of public resonance such as the Young Artist Archive Award; the organization, with the journal “Pioggia Obliqua”, of a public poetry reading in Palazzo Medici-Riccardi as a protest against the 1993 bombing; and, since 1997, the book series “Citizens of Poetry”, edited by Mia Lecomte, which publishes Italian poetry by migrant writers. In 2000 Semicerchiotook part in the intercultural project of the Regione Toscana Portofranco. Since 1996 the journal has been under the auspices of the Department of Research on the Cultural Traditions of the University of Siena.
The editorial addresses are Dipartimento di Teoria e Documentazione delle Tradizioni Culturali (University of Siena), viale Cittadini (Pionta), I-52100 Arezzo, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, direzione piazza Leopoldo 9, 50134 Firenze.
The journal is published by PACINI Editore (http://www.pacinieditore.it), and distributed to subscribers and in bookstores (Feltrinelli and others) by PDE. Through year-long exchanges with other international journals, Semicerchio has developed a “Library of International Poetry Journals” catalogued at the Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia in Arezzo.
Semicerchio is member of the Association for the Studies of Comparative Theory and History of Literature, and of the International Association of Comparative Literature. Semicerchio received the Fiesole Prize and the Special Prize for Translation awarded by the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali (1998) and the Catullo Prize (2014).