Summer 2011 • Vol. XXXIII No. 3 Poetry |

Umberto D.

Umberto Domenico Ferrari is waiting for a train not to stop, hugging to his chest his mix of mutt and spot-eyed Jack Russell, who has been faithful as well as touched with charm, including the ability to hold, while on its haunches, a felt hat in its mouth, intended to be filled with paper money. This is the day Umberto is evicted from his shabby one-room residence for lack of payment, lack of funds, lack of prospects altogether: a pensioner whose bed's been rented by the hour whenever he walks Flike. Neorealism in the fifties means to imitate real life, so Vittorio DeSica has selected from the world Carlo Battisti, a pensioner himself and once-professor, to take on the role of civil poverty in pre-war Mussolini Italy, in which, in black-and-white, the sun is always pale, skin a bright gray pallor,the air almost nothing to see through. Except for the dog there's loneliness, the shelter, the hospice, or the grave where Umberto could find a curl or corner, become a member of the corps

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Stanley Plumly’s most recent book of poems is Orphan Hours (W.W. Norton, 2012). His collection Old Heart won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2015, his book of prose The Immortal Evening won the Truman Capote Prize for Literary Criticism. Plumly is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. In 2010 he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Umberto Domenico Ferrari is waiting for a train not to stop, hugging to his chest his mix of mutt and spot-eyed Jack Russell, who has been faithful as well as […]

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