National Poetry Month Spotlight: Daniele Pantano

See the butcher’s son lose faith in his knives.
See the worn dock line chafe against the pier.
See the scholar drag her desk into the woods.
See the finger cramp the penultimate étude.
See the grocer highlight his name on the front page.
See the truant child decide on a different shortcut.
See the seamstress enter the building for the last time.
See the survivor hesitate before a shop window.
See the common medlar drop of its own accord.
See, once again, the knives in the porcelain sink.
(Poem originally published in Shipwrights: The Review of Decentered English, 2010.)
Q: Where is your favorite place to write?
A: Back in Florida, I used to write on the back porch, late at night, listening to the chorus of cicadas and Cuban tree frogs. Now that I live in England, I write in the kitchen, early in the morning, next to my broken fireplace.
Q: Do you remember the first poem you read that really blew your mind?
A: Yes, Pablo Neruda’s “Walking Around,” which I first read, according to one of my early notebooks, on 9 December 1992.
Q: What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you in the last 12 months?
A: I almost got arrested.
Daniele Pantano is a Swiss poet, translator, critic, and editor born of Sicilian and German parentage in Langenthal (Canton of Berne). His most recent works include The Possible Is Monstrous: Selected Poems by Friedrich Dürrenmatt and The Oldest Hands in the World (both from Black Lawrence Press, 2010), as well as Mass Graves (XIX-XXII) (The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2011). His forthcoming books include Oppressive Light: Selected Poems by Robert Walser (with an introduction by Carolyn Forché) and The Collected Works of Georg Trakl, both from Black Lawrence Press. For more information, please visit