Introduction to the ‘Polylocal Persona’ in Poetry

“It is not so much where you’ve traveled to, but where your mind has wandered.” -Poet, Novelist, Roman Payne

In this new CityRoom article series about the “Polylocal Persona,” we will focus on great individuals whose perceived identities pertain to many locales.

Some public figures are identified with one place. Baudelaire and Colette were Paris. Dostoevsky was St. Petersburg; William Blake and Wilde were London; Walt Whitman: New York; Dorothy Parker: Midtown Manhattan.

Others, among them artists, writers, poets, earned a complexity of character from a “polylocal persona” (think of the Shakespeare of England and the Shakespeare of Italy). The one was a statesman – even when a lover; the other was a lover, – even when a merchant. Many of the greater poets colored their work with travels – real or imaginative – in Italy. Some, like Lamartine and Stendhal of provincial France cast a brooding, melancholic shadow over their ouvres from home with periods of vibrant, color-saturated creations in Italian cities and towns.

In our first article of the series, we will look at one such fascinating polylocal poet: Pietros Maneos. His body of work is celebrated for books like the “Italian Pleasures of Gabriele Paterkallos,” and sayings like, “In American one must be something. But, in Italy, one can simply be.” Maneos is a poet of Rome, and of Tuscany. Yet, we shall explore the pervasive mystery that intrigues us in his lesser-known works that place him in Greece, North Carolina, and Miami. How, we ask, do his American letters and Hellenic stanzas enhance and enshrine his work and life. Or, do they distract and devalue his Italian persona and his old world oevres? This, coming soon on CityRoom.com

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