Signora Bella's Grand TourLesley Synge
Lesley Synge's third poetry collection, first released in 2019, the second edition in 2023.
While in Sicily (on the same holiday that resulted in the fiction work When Giuseppe Met Jackie), She collected unique stones on the northern shore of the beach town of Capo d’Orlando by day and wrote by night. She was supposed to be travelling light but nevertheless packed her haul into her backpack and lugged it north. In Genoa she realised her folly and gave them all away - except for the letters of the alphabet: ‘a writer needs only her alphabet.’ In the Alps she stayed a while in Taleggio Valley and borrowed the power of Mount Zucco to condense her adventures to the bare essentials: haiku in the spirit of the Japanese monk-poet Basho; a draft of a novella in poetry. On return to Australia - like DH Lawrence, Walt Whitman and Virginia Woolf before her - she published this slender volume of verse herself. She’d snapped away while in Bella Italia so matched selected images and haiku and presented a son et lumiere live reading to the Dante Alighieri Society of Brisbane.
"Many people in the audience were itching to share their own memories of Italy so it became a delicious communal experience. While it’s possible to read the work as the frivolous adventure of an Australian woman who doesn’t give a damn about convention, the perceptive reader understands that the central protagonist is grappling with deep undercurrents of pain. Her ‘Grand Tour’ is actually the means for her to rehearse courage. In the end, these poems celebrate resilience and survival." ~ Lesley Synge