Rina Ferrarelli

Rina Ferrarelli

Rina Ferrarelli came from Italy at the age of fifteen. She was awarded degrees in English from Mount Mercy College (now Carlow University) and Duquesne University, and taught English and translation studies at the University of Pittsburgh for many years. She has published a book and a chapbook of original poetry, Home Is a Foreign Country (Eadmer Press, 1996), and Dreamsearch (malafemmina press, 1992); and three books of translation, Light Without Motion (Owl Creek Press, 1989), I Saw the Muses (Guernica, 1997), and Winter Fragments: Selected Poems of Bartolo Cattafi, (Chelsea Editions, 2006). The Bread We Ate, another book of poems, was published by Guernica Editions in 2012.

Her poems and translations have also appeared in publications such as American Sports Poems (Orchard Books, 1988), BSU Forum, Barrow Street, The Chariton Review, Chelsea, College English, The Critic, Denver Quarterly, The Dream Book: Writings by Italian American Women (Schocken Books, 1985), 5 A.M., The Hudson Review, Images, The International Quarterly, Kansas Quarterly, Kindled Terraces: American Poets in Greece (Truman State University Press, 2004), Kiss Me Goodnight (Siren Book Co, 2005),Knowing Stones: Poems of Exotic Places (John Gordon Burke Publishers, 2000), Larger than Life (Black Moss Press, 2002), The Laurel Review, Line Drives (Southern Illinois University Press, 2002), The Literary Review, Looking for Home (Milkweed Editions, 1990), The MacGuffin, Main Street Rag, Mss. Magazine, The Milk of Almonds (The Feminist Press, 2002), New Letters, The New Orleans Review, The Panhandler, Paper Street, Paterson Literary Review, Pennsylvania English, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Poet Pyramid Magazine, Lore, Poetry NOW, Tar River Poetry, West Branch, Wild Dreams (Fordham University Press, 2008), poetrymagazine.com, canwehaveourballback.com, triplopia.com, and in many other journals and anthologies, including several textbooks.

Painting on the Palace Wall

Slaves, surely, these two
deeply tanned serving boys,
Greek or Cretan,

yet, so eager and happy in profile,
slim bodies seen from the back
in turquoise mini skirts,
the fringe weighted by beads.

Artistic Restraint

Court ladies or courtesans—
all three, beautiful
and interchangeable–
elegant women
who must have never seen the sun,
their skin, paper white,
the white framed by black,
by the blue of sky, the blue
and gold of a sleeve.
Not naked, bare-breasted,
as was the fashion,
the artist drawing your eye
to their heads, the raven
tresses wound with beads,
white and pale blue,
held back by a band.
All have a curl
in the middle of the forehead,
and a springy lock
that curves around one ear.
Strong noses and chins,
and delicately outlined,
the white bare breasts.
The nipples like gold studs.

For other contributions by Rina Ferrarelli, please follow the link below:

Poetry in this post: © Rina Ferrarelli
Published with the permission of Rina Ferrarelli