Patrizia Lissoni


Doctoral researcher

Department of Modern Languages: Italian Studies


PhD Title: The Relationship Between Space and Objects in the Poetry of the Italian New Avant-Garde
Supervisors: Dr. Clodagh Brook and Dr. Paolo De Ventura
PhD Italian Studies by Distance Learning

Having obtained a B.A. degree in Italian and Spanish at the University of California Los Angeles, and completed my M.A. degree in Italian at the same institution with a Master Thesis on the poetry of Edoardo Cacciatore under the supervision of Professor Luigi Ballerini, I recently started my Distance Learning Ph.D. research program in Italian Studies at the University of Birmingham. I am also an Italian instructor at Pepperdine University, in Malibu, USA.


The poetry of the Italian New Avant-Garde of the 1960s focused on “objects” and experimented with language and linguistic forms as a way of directly linking life to poetry. They developed a provocative linguistic style that subverted the conventional order of the Italian syntax, and argued that focusing poetry on “objects” and linguistic practices, allowed poets to free consciousness from preconceived beliefs and overcome linguistic degradation and alienation as they were witnessing it in the emerging Italian consumer society (Picchione, 2004).

However, concrete “objects” define concrete spaces in which objects are located, inasmuch as space is produced by social activities (Lefebvre, 1991), and if we consider the New Avant-Garde’s “poetics of object” and the change they wanted to embrace, space and its relationship to objects, must be taken into consideration. My Ph.D. research examines the interrelationship between objects and space and its significance in postmodern Italian poetry. No prior critical work has considered spatiality and its implications in considering the “poetic of objects,” and thus it creates a new and original framework for the investigation of the poetics of the Italian New Avant-Garde.

In my dissertation, I will address the question of how objects define space, and the interrelationship between objects and space in the poetry of the Italian New Avant-Garde. The emphasis of my research will be on Elio Pagliarani and Antonio Porta, two of the most representative exponents of the New Avant-Garde, and Edoardo Cacciatore, a poet at the fringe of the movement. In Pagliarani’s poetry, which concentrated prevalently on Milan, the heart of the Italian industrial society, my focus will centre on his unique linguistic style and the depiction of urban space, factory work, and social tension and conflict. In the work of Antonio Porta, who conceived writing poetry as a linguistic and existential journey (Picchione, 2004), I will concentrate on his fragmented narrations and his depiction of undefined and broken spaces. In the poetry of Cacciatore, who uses objects as a medium to bind present, past, and memory, I will examine how objects and space are interrelated.


  • John Florio. A Worde of Wordes. London: Arnoldo Hatfield, 1598 - Cataloguing and Editing a Critical Edition of the First Italian-English Dictionary for the Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library (2010)
  • Edoardo Cacciatore o della poesia pensiero in Carte Italiane - Rivista di Italianistica of UCLA Italian Department (January 2009)


  • Sensibilmente ogni cosa è tutt’altra cosa: la poesia di Edoardo Cacciatore e la ricerca mnemonica di Giordano Bruno.” AAIS Annual Conference at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 11-14 April 2013
  • “Italian Via Technology: A Different Experience in Learning Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication: Teaching First-Year Italian Online.” AAIS Annual Conference at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 22-25 April 2010
  • “New Frontiers of Technology: Teaching Beginning Italian Online.” MCLASC Conference at Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA October 2009
  • “Dante and Semiotics: I segni della memoria nella Divina Commedia.” AAIS Annual Conference in New York 7-9 May 2009
  • “From Reading to Writing. How to Motivate Students and Sustain Their Interest in Learning a Foreign Language and Culture.” MCLASC Conference at Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA October 2007

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