Italian poet SANDRO PENNA, (d: 1977) was born on this date. For Sandro Penna boyhood was the embodiment of desire and the inspiration for all of his poetry. Penna was born in Perugia, but after the age of sixteen, spent most of his life in Rome. By some standards, his life was uneventful, unambitious, lonely, scruffy, and sordid. One does not have to endorse this view. Penna made firm choices about the two things in life that interested him most: poetry and boys.
For several years, he had a competition with Pier Paolo Pasolini to see who could make love with the greater number of boys along the overgrown banks of the Tiber and in the scattered urinals of Rome’s ugly urban landscape. It was Pasolini who most consistently championed Penna’s poetry. One poem sums up Penna’s attitude to criticism of his thematic narrowness. Responding to the complaint that there are always young men in his poems, the poet replies: “Ma io non so parlare d’altre cose. / Le altre cose son tutte noiose” (“But I don’t know how to write about anything else. Everything else is just boring”). If his sexual interest is a limitation, it is one he accepts with cheerful equanimity.