Poem Strip


Author: Dino Buzzati

Title: Poem Strip

Genre: Graphic Novel; Mythology

Publication Date: Italian-1969; English-2009

Number of Pages: 218

Geographical Setting: Milan, Italy

Time Period: 1969

Plot Summary: In Milan, on via Saterna, a strange street that doesn’t exist on any map, a young guitarist named Orfi performs at the Polypus Club.  After seeing his lover, Eura, disappear through a mysterious door.  Determined to find her, Orfi enters the world of the Afterlife with the permission of a Guardian Demon. Orfi must sing to the dead his songs of the beloved mysteries of the flesh: songs of death, lust, and love. He is given only a short period of time to find Eura and return her to the living world, but the temptations of the Afterlife may be too much to resist.  This is Buzzatti’s adaption of the Greek myth of Orpheus’ descent to the underworld to save his wife Eurydice.

Subject Headings: Afterlife; Orpheus; Eurydice; Italian Fiction; Graphic Novels-Italy; Psychedelic; Mythology-Greek

Appeal: Atmospheric, dark, haunting, psychological, romantic, sensual, introspective, cinematic, episodic, sexually explicit, mythic, literary references, tragic, urban, poetic, lyric, metaphoric

3 terms that best describe this Graphic Novel: Mythic, Sensual, Haunting

3 Relevant Fiction Works:

The Cage by Martin Vaughn-James: The similar surrealistic illustrations that cover entire pages are reminiscent of Buzzati’s work.

The Grand Inquisitor Trickster written by John Zmirak and illustrated by Carla Millar: A strange, gothic adaptation of Dostoevsky’s fable of the same name written in blank verse.

It Rhymes with Lust by Arnold Drake, Leslie Walker, and Matt Baker: This proto-graphical novel, or picture novel, is another gothic noir romance.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works:

Orpheus and Eurydice: A Lyric Sequence by Gregory Orr: An in-depth look at myth of Orpheus and Eurydice that Buzzati’s work is based on.

The New Avant-Garde in Italy: Theoretical Debate and Poetic Principles by John Picchione: A look into the literary movement that inspired the work of Buzzati.

Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke: Rilke’s collection of poems are all on the theme of Orpheus and his descent to the underworld, a common literary device that was Buzzati’s inspiration.

-Mike Monahan

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