The Traces of Soul

Rosalba Fantastico di Kastron

The Traces of Soul
Selected Poems

ISBN: 978-0-939378-06-7


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Mundus Artium Press announces the autumn 2019 release of The Traces of Soul by Rosalba Fantastico di Kastron. Introducing one of Italy’s finest contemporary poets to English-language readers, the bilingual volume conveys passionately voiced commitments to place, people and craft.

In The Traces of Soul, Fantastico pays homage to her native region of Puglia, in southern Italy. Her poems depict rocky coasts and a fertile landscape full of vineyards, orchards and fields cultivated over centuries and generations. Grounding life in a “motherland,” her poems support viewing any territory through a localized lens.

strewn with oleanders and lemon trees,
cool and lively alleys
of Mediterranean fragrances. …
Red and white bunches
dotted with green coolness,
rural flags of a people
who suffered and still suffers,
suspended and ripened
upon ancient roots.

from The Traces of Soul

The book is translated by Michela Livrieri and Vincenzo Lotito, with poetic adaption by Tina Fiorentino and an introduction by editorial advisor James Manteith.

The ISBN number for the paperback edition of the book is 978-0-939378-06-7.

“Fantastico crafts poems of love, illuminating a landscape populated by timeless family relationships, romance and inclusive human solidarities. Self-effacing and sly, she asserts that ‘Poets have no utility.’ Yet her poems aim for a usefulness beyond the utilitarian. Embracing both pleasure and pain, distilling and extending consolation, Fantastico names and tends to realities beyond registry by statistics. Sturdily wrought, deeply felt and accessible, The Traces of Soul transmutes the ‘inner substances’ of personal experience into art with universal resonance.

Fantastico’s poems emerge in dialog with today’s most durable world literature.” — James Manteith


Rosalba Fantastico Di Kastron ROSALBA FANTASTICO di KASTRON was born in Italy’s Salice Salentino, Province of Lecce, and currently resides in Bari-Santo Spirito.

She has served as a high school professor of Art History and Cultural Heritage in Turin and Bari.

She is known in the Apulian world of culture for her commitment as a poet, painter, playwright and theater director. Her career as a painter started at a very young age and is full of personal exhibitions, awards and numerous works commissioned by institutions and representatives of the Church, politics, medicine and culture, as well as by private individuals. Many of her paintings have permanent display in healthcare facilities, in altarpieces and at public centers for municipalities, provinces and regions.

In May 1991 she received first prize at the XII International Competition of Art and Literature in Campidoglio, Rome. Schena Editore published her collections of poems Attraversare il silenzio in 2004 and Nuvole di pietra in 2006. In August 2006 she was awarded by President Giorgio Napolitano with the title of “Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.”

In 2011 Filocalia Editrice, Manduria, published her Salentu mia, poems written in Salento dialect. In 2012 she won the Province of Bari’s Poetry Award, promoted by the Apulian publishing houses, for her Nuvole di pietra, studied and selected for recognition by Bari high school students.

In 2016 her collection Canti per un cuore vagabondo was published by SECOP Edizioni and presented at the XII International Book Fair of Turin and the Otranto Book Fair. In September 2018 she represented Italy at the 55th World Poetry Festival in Belgrade, Serbia, with Canti per un cuore vagabondo.

On March 7, 2019, she received the prestigious “Women of Puglia” award “for having passionately spread our cultural identity worldwide.”