The Sweetness of Demons

Anne Pia

Poetic responses in English to Baudelaire's poems - and to both the sensuality and the modernity of his language and ideas.
Date Published :
June 2022
Publisher :
Vagabond Voices
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913212322
Pages : 70
Dimensions : 8.3 X 5.5 inches
Stock Status : In stock


Anne Pia’s responses to Baudelaire’s poetry is not only emotional and intellectual but also linguistic. It comes from her profound love for France’s language and culture, particularly when it looks beyond nationhood.

As she writes in her passionate and illuminating introduction, “[Baudelaire] luxuriates and furiously dismisses. He rages and yet he speaks soft words. He is tender. He yearns, aches and seductively persuades. A creator of vivid visuals and sublimely evocative music, a conjurer of mist, soft light and of exotic scents, a sculptor and a weaver of tapestry and texture through a mere interplay of words and skillful verse and stanza, Baudelaire – whether jubilant or bitter – is never light-hearted, always honest, intense, disturbing.”

The challenge Pia set herself was to recreate some of this powerful mix in our English language, which has perhaps ceased to look for inspiration beyond itself since it became so dominant. And she has succeeded in this challenge quite remarkably, drawing the reader into the intimacy of her own intellectual and artistic journey with deep European roots.

In this volume we have published the original French poems Pia has chosen and her poetic responses in English, along with her literal translations of the originals. It is a bold move in a “language not of its time”, which demands our engagement.

About The Author

Anne Pia lives in Edinburgh. She is the grandchild of Italian immigrants and was raised surrounded by the culture, traditions and dialect of southern Italy. Education was the means by which she achieved professional success, retiring as an HM Inspector of Education in 2009 with a specialism in adult literacy. The Doctorate in Education she achieved in 2008 provided the opportunity to live and study in Italy and France.

Pia’s creative memoir, Language of My Choosing (Luath Press, 2017) was shortlisted for the Saltire Award for Best New Book of 2017, and awarded the Premio Internazionale Flaiano di Linguistica for its contribution to Italian culture in the world. Its Italian translation, Ho scelto la mia lingua, was published in 2018, as was her first poetry collection, Transitory. Over the years, Pia’s poetry and essays have appeared in many publications, among others The Blue Nib, Northwords Now, Poetry Scotland, Lunar Poetry, The Fat Damsel and South Bank Poetry.

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