The Oldest Hands in the World

Black Lawrence Press is very proud to announce the publication of The Oldest Hands in the World, Daniele Pantano’s debut collection. While Pantano has been serving the literary community for many years as a respected and accomplished translator, it is no wonder that this rich and exciting collection of poems about exile, translingualism, and writing one’s way home reads like a book written by a seasoned, celebrated poet. We expect more great things from this new voice.

The Oldest Hands in the World is available from Black Lawrence Press and Amazon.


On this chair, as I am every morning, waiting
For the cappuccino and brioche to arrive,
And the girl with the oldest hands in the world,
I sense exile is a city reared by eternal artifice.
All sweet violence and thought and repetition.
Beyond what history has left of this topography,
The cup is whiteness, the coffee brown semen.
My first sip makes her appear with provender
And sandals from behind the insignificant ruins.
But for the time being, ruins are eucalyptus trees.
And she not a girl on her way to feed chickens
But a face concealed by dripping nets. Dressed
In black sails and hair dyed a Roman blonde.
The lips of her soul are burning sages, I know.
Her name, I don’t. Only her hands matter.
Laden with broached scars, they remind me––
Home is where children sprout in rippled soil.
Where footsteps are mosaics of possibility.
To go on. Finish breakfast. Read the line
That ends in God’s breath. Again.


Pantano offers us a chance once again to see a poet live comparative literature the way Pound did–but without the frightening aspect of the extreme beard, the Roman broadcasts, or the open cage. His poetry and translations reveal that writing is different languages influencing each other at the most intimate and experienced level. ––James Reidel, author of My Window Seat for Arlena Twigg

“I make a dish out of nothing” could be a poetic creed as well as a line from a Daniele Pantano poem, for he is an expert in molding the shapelessness of experience into a variety of crafted forms. A romantic with a sharp intelligence, Pantano gives us poems where heart and mind move together as on a verbal bicycle built for two. ––Billy Collins, Poet Laureate of the United States (2001–2003)

Fierce, uncompromising and completely authentic, The Oldest Hands in the World is a remarkable debut collection. Scratch that––The Oldest Hands in the World is a remarkable collection, period. ––Jay Hopler, author of Green Squall

The poems of Swiss-born Daniele Pantano are shadowed by travel and exile, rich with history, music, and a love of language. Sensuous, dramatic and intelligent,The Oldest Hands in the World is a stirring introduction to a strong and talented young poet. ––Peter Meinke, author of The Piano Tuner

Who is brave enough to attempt the world? Daniele Pantano succeeds in this new book, evoking the world of cathedrals, arches, nights that cascade into history. It is a welcome world he illuminates. He gives us our own names back to us, familiar and unfamiliar, but ours in the newness of old possession. The Oldest Hands in the World caress us warmly, and make us thankful for the embrace. Read this world like your life. ––Nicholas Samaras, author of Hands of the Saddlemaker

About the Poet

Daniele Pantano is a Swiss poet, translator, critic, and editor born of Sicilian and German parentage in Langenthal (Canton of Berne). Pantano has taught at the University of South Florida and served as the Visiting Poet-in-Residence at Florida Southern College. He divides his time between Switzerland, the United States, and England, where he’s Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. For more information, please visit


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