Amelia Glaser

Associate Professor of Literature
University of California, San Diego

My Scattered Souls

The Multiplicity of Being

in Amelia Rosselli’s English Poetry

O were I one in Three! Just like the Holy Ghost,

the Father and the Son, I’d reunite my scattered souls and string them in from all the seas abroad;

no longer climb upon perdition’s mast and wave a banner crying God, at last! [1]

“One in Three” is the opening poem in Amelia Rosselli’s October Eliza-bethans, a cycle written in English in 1956. The twenty-six year old Rosselli was just beginning her poetic career, which, over the next forty years, would manifest itself in English, Italian, and French. As the above poem calls for a Trinitarian merging of three divine forms into one, Rosselli would attempt to braid her native languages into a grammar of multi-plicity that reflects her struggle to combine the disparate facets of her life. Having grown up with four homelands (France, England, the United States, and Italy), three native languages (French, English, and Italian), and two religious heritages (Catholicism and Judaism), Rosselli stood at the origin of a multi-dimensional coordinate system. In her writing, she would attempt to reconcile, in addition to her linguistic and cultural identities, her socialist sentiments with her middle class background, her training as a musicologist with her study of poetics, and her identity as a woman poet with the male-dominated Italian tradition [2].

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