cover image Poem Strip

Poem Strip

Dino Buzzati, , trans. from the Italian by Marina Harss. . New York Review Books, $14.95 (218pp) ISBN 978-1-59017-323-7

Italian artist and author Dino Buzzati imagines a modern graphic novel version of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. In Buzzati's version, set in Milan, a singer called Orfi mourns his lover, Eura, and tracks her to the afterlife. Through a dreamscape made up of bordellos, train stations and a soulless Soviet-like bureaucracy, the singer searches for his lover while being schooled in the ways of the dead. The heartbreaking ending opens as many questions as it answers. Throughout, Buzzati, who died in 1972, offers a sumptuous meditation on the ways in which death gives life meaning, focusing on the sensations of music, sex and, paradoxically, mourning. Poem Strip was originally published in Italy in 1969. The text might have lost some of its lyricism in the translation from the Italian, as it occasionally seems stiff. The artwork retains its bold, sensual power, however. Although its psychedelic palette points to its '60s creation, the images are still strikingly modern and erotic. (Oct.)