Interview with Bruno Galluccio

Could you reflect on your relationship to the telephone, in the past or in the present, and say something about how this might have informed your poem?

I chose not to pinpoint relationships with the telephone in everyday life as a topic in the poem, relationships that also carry meaning both on a personal and on a cultural level (suggestions stemming from books and films). I preferred to refer to the underlying technology and to my professional life: I am a physicist who has worked for many years on the design of traditional and satellite-based communication systems. I was attracted by the touch of magic provided by the image of the human voice that goes beyond the bounds of the atmosphere then falls back down to earth.

How did you go about producing the work for this project? Were there any materials, anecdotal, literary or otherwise, that proved generative for you?

The direct sources were my own experiences during projects working on space systems. In addition there were some historical elements, universally well known, to do with the evolution of telecommunication systems.

How much was the recording of the poem, and the format(s) through which the poem will be reproduced (i.e. a public phone booth and mobile app), a consideration in the composition?

I was influenced by the following considerations: the fact that this poem will be enjoyed principally by listening without reading it in paper format at the same time, and also that it must be capable of reaching a wide audience, not necessarily used to contemporary poetry. This led me towards an expressive form that avoids excessive lexical and syntactic complexity, and that maintains linearity in the general structure so that it can be easily followed.

Do you have any thoughts on how the project might have affected the way that you think about the relationship between poetry and telephony, or between writing and technology more broadly?

The use of themes from science and technology is very common in my poetry, so for me it was not an unusual or confusing experience. However, I found it stimulating to have to focus on a specific topic rather than being able to address different scientific stimuli freely, let alone using scientific knowledge as a pure metaphorical tool.

Are there any other reflections you can make about the process of producing the poem, or your participation in the project?

In addition to what I have said above, I would like to highlight the fact that while working on the text I deemed it appropriate to mix the objective elements of technological reality with elements relating to the sphere of human emotions, particularly in the dimensions of fantasy and myth. For example, I refer to the magical thought that, in the minds of children, can be linked to the desire to communicate; and then, towards the end, I create another analogous relationship with the beliefs of ancient times: the relationship of the Greek world with the deities of Mount Olympus, a place which stood out, just like a satellite, as a sky-high point stolen away from human sight and which, in its own way, acted as a sorting machine for messages or as a means of receiving prayers and dispensing concessions or punishments.

May 2020