I found that the poem from “Il pesce gotico” that Prof Cavatorta showed us reminded me of an elaborate cross of two things we are probably familiar with from grade school: the shape poem and a word association exercise. As we analyzed the poem as a class, one person pointed out that its strange pattern of broken words combined to form the suggestion of stratified layers of rock. As the poem deals with the destruction of decay, I wonder if another interpretation of the shape is that the poem itself has begin to fracture and slip out of shape, as it too, decays. To me, the most interesting feature of the poem is the seamless transition of the words from dealing with geology, to zoology, to anatomy, to theology, to destruction, to legality. Especially towards the end of the poem, there is a suggestion of nature, insects particularly, crawling over and reclaiming the things of humanity. Humans themselves only appear in the section that uses the vocabulary of anatomy, and when the speaker in the poem once says, “I emerge…”
From the talk, it sounds like art dealing with apocalypticism and post-apocalypticism was common to the Italian neo-avante-garde, as we saw in some of the other poems. At least some of this was inspired by the Manhattan Project and the nuclear age in general, which understandably fostered fear of sudden catastrophic warfare and death. In this poem, however, after the immediate destruction, nature comes back and grows over human civilization.