Menotti Lerro

Italian poet

Menotti Lerro (born February 22, 1980) is an Italian poet, writer, playwright, critic, librettist and academic.

Menotti Lerro at The University of Reading, Poetry Reading, 2011


  • We do not have anything, but the body. The soul is an invention, dust of the cross.
    • Non abbiamo che il corpo. L’anima è un’invenzione, polvere di croce.
  • Philosophy will fail forever its primary aim because it searches for something that does not exist.
    • La filosofia fallirà per sempre il suo primario obiettivo, poiché ricerca qualcosa che non esiste.
  • When men feel happy, they think of men who love; when they feel sad they think and pray to God.
    • Gli uomini quando si sentono felici pensano agli uomini che amano, quando si sentono tristi pensano e pregano Dio.
  • I think that at the bottom of every artist there is absence.
    • Credo che alla base di ogni artista ci sia un’assenza.
  • We were born as a blank page and we will die as a black page.
    • Si nasce come una pagina bianca e si muore come una pagina nera.
  • We should live two lives in order to understand the world: one as a man and the other as a woman.
    • Bisognerebbe vivere due vite per capire il mondo: una come uomo e l’altra come donna.
  • There is no day without darkness and night without light.
    • Non c’è giorno senza tenebre e notte senza luce.
  • Often behind a great man there is great pain.
    • Spesso dietro un grande uomo c’è una grande sofferenza.
  • The absence of one we love is not solitude, it is severance.
    • L’assenza di chi si ama non è solitudine è ablazione.
  • Religiously, I consider myself an atheistic theologian.
    • Religiosamente mi reputo un teologo ateo.
  • Wherever will the promised light be? Is there a paradise among the clouds maybe, rest in the wind, refreshment on the seabed? Where does the dark, the insomnia, the madness, the crying, the illness, the death finish? Where does God hide himself?
    • Dove sarà mai la luce promessa? C’è forse un paradiso tra le nuvole, riposo nel vento, ristoro nei fondali marini? Dove finisce il buio, l’insonnia, la pazzia, il pianto, la malattia, la morte? Dove si nasconde Dio?
    • FROM: Andrew Mangham, The Poetry of Menotti Lerro, Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2011, pp. 71-72. ISBN 978-1443828444

Theater Quotes


Donna Giovanna, l'ingannatrice di Salerno (2016)

  • Lady Giovanna, the cheater of Salerno (first performed on 25 November 2017 at the Marucelliana Library of Florence).

  • If you want understand how a woman loves you just have to listen her words backwards. If you want to understand how a man loves, when he talks about love you must close your ears.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act I, scene ii.
  • Men are like wine. You taste them, they seem good, they arouse your senses... But after? You suddenly find yourself with your head spinning. And if you are not careful, if you don’t chose only those high quality ones, you will end up feeling also nauseated.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act I, scene ii.
  • Remember that the sun doesn’t belong more to a man than to you. Never let yourself to be put in the shadow.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act I, scene ii.
  • I want to follow the instinct, the passion of my desire, once unspeakable. The moments of love serve to remind us that our condition tends to happiness!
    • Donna Giovanna, Act I, scene iii.
  • We were born boys or girls, but we don’t know what we will become, to which gender we will belong to at death.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act I, scene iii.
  • Happiness is the illusion of being happy, unhappiness is the fear of being it. A little bit of fear helps you to live in the light, too much strangles you in the dark.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act I, scene iii.
  • We deceive ourselves to be the same for our whole life, instead we are other every moment.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act I, scene iii.
  • Yes, warn her! Warn her that I’ve decided to put an end to her existence. Life is nothing but a river destined to dry itself, a source kept luxuriant for a few years by the rain that falls from our own eyes.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act II, scene ii.
  • If you are stupid they’ll humiliate you, if you’re wise they’ll hate you, if you’re beautiful they’ll kill you, and nor the virtues nor the weaknesses of a woman are ever forgiven. Men are blind of rage for being born as monsters, for not being capable to be loved and to love themselves.
    • Brunella, Act II, scene ii.
  • I know that in a pure heart a wicked person does more damage than a hailstorm in a vineyard.
    • Dario, Act II, scene ii.
  • Women don’t think with the heart, but with emotions.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act II, scene v.
  • We should never be afraid of our dreams, but only of who doesn’t want to make us dream.
    • Dario, Act III, scene iV.
  • The perfect couple is the one which the more one is faraway from the other, the more closer they feel.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act III, scene iv.
  • Betraying who you love is like betraying yourself!
    • Donna Giovanna, Act III, scene iv.
  • If God entrusted his word to priests, it’s easy to explain why the world refuses to listen to it.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act IV, scene ii.
  • I’ve never been afraid to die. Death in my dreams is a walk, compared to what we call life. If I have to fall, I want to do it my way, without anybody supporting me or pushing me.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act IV, scene iii.
  • Men were born to die! Life has only one purpose: to understand the sense of your own misery.
    • Donna Giovanna, Act IV, scene iii.
  • When a devil, but also a saint, laughs about your poetry, you laugh about his ignorance!
    • Donna Giovanna, Act IV, scene iii.

Poetry Quotes

  • Poetry cannot be imprisoned in one definition and therefore I myself would have a lot of them, yet no definite and certain definition. I will define, consequently, this literary genre in a different way in comparison with my previous definitions. To being with, I would say that poetry itself is a tool that defines us and the universe, because it is quintessence. (Defining Poetry. From The Poetry of Menotti Lerro, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011, p. 1)
  • When I think of poetry, I like to think of it as follows: as the echo of a splash of the sea upon the shadows of those thousand-year-old rocks, that remember – after the continuous modeling of the wind and water – the shadows of the bodies of human beings. A splash capable of emitting a redeeming scent that, once smelt, we cannot live without. (Defining Poetry. From The Poetry of Menotti Lerro, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011, p. 9)

  • The false teeth that kissed me / remained here / after you went away. / I sometimes look at them / and see you cleaning them again with string, / with a twig from the field / and then blow on them, patiently, with love. / One day, maybe, I will give them to my jaws. (From: The Poetry of Menotti Lerro, p. 20)
  • If life is a mixture of drained rivers / which carry to the sea echoes of water, / we are nothing but shadows – / reflected lights of dead bodies without no possible outlet or shore. (From The Poetry of Menotti Lerro, p. 37)
  • The infinite is inside / our eyes; / not outside, not in the things / of this world, / but in their shadows. / Night, Death, Blinking, / take us through the universe again, / out of time. (From: The Poetry of Menotti Lerro, p. 40)
  • We grow old in people’s eyes / or when, opening a wardrobe, / the mirror takes us by surprise. / We grow old, half-plunged / in our rivers / seeing portraits reflected / when images flow among a thousand folds; / we grow old in twisted reflections of cutlery / and glasses. (From The Poetry of Menotti Lerro, p. 41)
  • The carpentry smelt of trees and incense. / My father spread white Vinavil in grooves, / inserted steel nails with two short, intense blows. / I imitated him, little hammer, between my hands, his tools in miniature… / I dreamt about the Trojan horse. / Then in the evening I hid myself / among sawdust: There is no safer place / in the world he said, with open arms. / Nowadays I take no cover / but in his eyes / (in the calm before the storm); / piece by piece I tidy up / our carpentry. (From The Poetry of Menotti Lerro, p. 42)
  • And yet in no time they disappear, / perhaps to reappear in a dream… / But now they are dead, / deleted without having lived / because each man exists just for himself / and when he dies (did he live?) nobody knows / that once he breathed. (From: The Poetry of Menotti Lerro, p. 49)
  • Nothing belongs to us / but dreams / confused images of the night, / voices that we do not distinguish anymore. (From: The Poetry of Menotti Lerro, p. 52)
  • Tonight I have no desire to sleep. / I want to remain here until morning / writing poetry. / The heart drowns less slowly / when the pen sheds tears / and the paper dries pain. (From: The Poetry of Menotti Lerro, p. 55)

Criticism Quotes


Difference between an "autobiography in prose" and "one in verse"


A concrete difference between an "autobiography in prose" and "one in verse" probably consists of the fact that the second one is, in many ways, less linked to its narrator than the first one and therefore it ends up raising, even through the use of rhetoric, the personal story of the narrator to a personal and universal story at the same time, as it occurs in Prelude by Wordsworth and throughout the autobiographical poetry where, despite the universality of the narrating “I”, we will not stop to identify that “I” with the author of the poem. (From: Autobiographical Poetry in England and Spain, 1950-1980: Narrating Oneself in Verse, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 175)

A concise and substantial distinction between “autobiography in prose” and “autobiography in verse”


In other words, wanting to give a concise definition regarding a substantial distinction between “autobiography in prose” and “autobiography in verse”, it could be said that the first differs from the second, as its contents can be either, only personal or aspire to universality, whereas the latter must propose a text that is both personal and universal. (From: Autobiographical Poetry in England and Spain, 1950-1980: Narrating Oneself in Verse, p. 177)

Supremacy of the “autobiography in verse” compared with an "autobiography in prose"


It is possible to talk about the absolute value and supremacy of the “autobiography in verse” (therefore of a poetic, other than autobiographical work), only when the mere narration of the personal facts is reworked in order to be able to achieve the poetic status that will allow a greater accuracy even in outlining an individual story, especially with regards to the feelings that the characters feel and transmit. So, if we want to use poetry for the purpose of narrating the events of a subject, and this is true not only for autobiographies but for the whole autobiographical poetry, it is necessary that the autobiographer elevates his own personal story to a universal story, without limiting himself exclusively to a faithful narration of facts (which can, instead, be done in prose), but by having the aim, the same one of all poetry, to challenge the centuries through the exemplariness of language and of the proposed lesson (otherwise there is the risk of creating a simple narration with the useless characteristic of starting a new paragraph – thus creating the verse – at about half way, instead of at the end). (From: Autobiographical Poetry in England and Spain, 1950-1980: Narrating Oneself in Verse, pp. 175-176)

Empathism: a short definition


This movement places at its centre of interest the empathic relationship and, therefore, personality in its ontic and ontological constitution. It follows that any creative or didactic experimentation cannot be separated from a process of identification with the other and its contemporaneity as an opportunity of study and sharing of knowledge and interior life stories. The horizon of meaning implies a civil promotion of the artistic society pouring from individual and community growth to ethical purposes mediated by an aesthetic dimension: namely, that of art. (From: Menotti Lerro, in La Scuola Empatica: Movimento letterario-artistico-filosofico e culturale sorto in Italia nel 2020, Ladolfi publishing 2020, p. 8).

Wikipedia has an article about: