Learning Italian by Julia Caroline Knowlton

Learning Italian

I leave my Ohio English, native tongue,
its lockstep clip-clop like horse hooves

on a road, its one syllable words like
birds on a wire or fruit pie in a pan.

I learn chiacchierare—to chit chat—
admiring how the letters pirouette.

Pure music subsumes me—alba, oro,
fruttivendolo, verdurivendolo.

I fade innamorata in wonder within
curved waves of gold leaf words formed

like drapery in stone or scrolls of violins.
Now perne in a gyre, blue turn I disappear.


Julia Caroline Knowlton PhD MFA is a poet and Professor of French at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. The author of five books, she was named a Georgia Author of the Year in 2018. Her 2005 memoir, Body Story, was named an outstanding title by the American Library Association. Victoria Chang, the current New York Times Magazine Poetry Editor, has described Knowlton’s poetry as “devastatingly lyrical.” Recognition for her work includes an Academy of American Poets Prize and a Pushcart nomination. She regularly publishes her poetry in journals such as One Art and Trouvaille Review.

Leave a Reply