Who is the greatest living Italian poet?
Who cares who the greatest living Italian poet is?
Asking yourself this question, after having investigated who poets are today, is a bit like asking yourself who is the best contemporary Italian poet.
Many wonder who is the greatest Italian poet of 900, even more people wonder who is the greatest poet ever. But few people ask who is the best contemporary, since poetry is still a small world. Poets and aspirants such are aking this. This question knocked to my hungry ego with dirty clutches of ambition. But making poetry for me really means getting out of the logic of numbers and rankings to chase the silence with which everything explains the cosmos.
But wanting to ask this question, a second question faces: who can decide who is the greatest living poet?
Who can decide that?
And that’s the real question. It’s just that finding an answer is far from easy.
The first answer that would be given is “critics”. But, essentially, in Italy there is no real critic for contemporary poetry. Apart from a couple of great professors, serious critic is essentially disinterested in the poetic experiments of those who make contemporary poetry.
The second answer may be “the audience”. But poetry books, essentially, don’t sell. This does not mean that poetry does not live, but simply that contemporaries enjoy poetry through other means, especially digital ones.
The third answer could be “the media”. But in which newspaper, site, radio is there someone so authoritative to be able to understand the differences between the poetics of those who write poetry? The media can certainly create charachters, in fact, media and make some poet known for a few hours, day, month. But it is not the right tool to decide who is the greatest living Italian poet.
Then you could think about competitions. But poetry competitions in Italy are almost all pervaded by a commercial-consortium logic. That is, the logic prevails of rewarding those who then publish (paying) a book with the publishing company associated with the competition, or simply is awarded the friend to whom then ask a counter pleasure.
A possible solution
There is an aseptic and rigidly numerical entity that passes its mechanical existence to make rankings and provide them in an orderly way: Google. If we really want to make a ranking and we want to make it as contemporary as possible, simply type “The greatest living Italian poet” on Google and discover the podium of the digital laurel wreaths.