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Capri Award 2011: Special mention for Capri poet Stefano Federico

Capri Press, 17 July 2011

Valentina Coppola

The Isle of Capri offers a variety of events over the summer months. One of the most original and striking this year was Capri Award 2011. The Capri stop on the international award circuit, dedicated this year to Japan, saw the award go to Banana Yoshimoto, a celebrated writer very familiar to the Italian people. Her works include Kitchen, Moonlight Shadow and NP, and she has enjoyed international success thanks to her fresh style, direct yet poetic, creating a literary stir in 1991 when Kitchen was published. The Land of the Rising Sun, its suffering, its courage, its dignity, was the theme of the entire ceremony.

With her latest novel, High and Dry, coming out this week, Banana Yoshimoto expressed her gratitude for the award and charmed her audience with a reading of The Rose, an unpublished work set against the recent tsunami tragedy which has devastated her country.

The Capri-Journalism Award went to Virman Cusenza, editor of Il Mattino, for the grit and authority he brings to this pillar of the press of Southern Italy.

Origami by Stefano Federico

In this setting, imbued with emotion and poetry, a young man from Capri was also remembered alongside the great and the famous. Special mention for poetry went to Stefano Federico, whose life was ended prematurely, aged 32, on 16 January, in circumstances that are under police investigation. The award was presented by Ciro Lembo, Mayor of Capri, and Claudio Angelini, President of Capri Award.

Stefano was a great admirer of Japan and its culture, having taught himself to speak and write Japanese fluently. He knew a great number of kanji (Japanese characters), more than enough to generate envy even in a native of Japan.

He had visited the country several times, in particular Kyoto, where he had many friends. Poetry was one of his preferred modes of communication. As he wrote during one of his trips: When I saw the beauty of the Japanese garden, I was struck breathless but not left speechless.

Among the many arts that he practiced, including martial arts and calligraphy, Stefano had become an expert in origami. You might find him walking around Capri with pieces of coloured rice paper, scrupulously sourced from Japan, creating animals, flowers and geometric figures with which to amaze his friends, who often became the recipients of these precious paper creations.

His origami expertise was advanced enough to allow him to devise new forms. The one he was most proud of was the phoenix.

He also studied Zen philosophy, and its relationship to Samurai ethics. Zen provided the foundations for his philosophy of life and above all inspiration for his many works of poetry. The poem Japan, recited by Claudio Angelini during the ceremony, and for which the award was conferred, was profoundly inspired by and infused with Zen philosophy. The poetic qualities of this work were highlighted during the presentation of the award to Banana Yoshimoto: "written with a delicacy and spirituality that characterises the Japanese people." These qualities were reflected perfectly in the life of this talented young man from Capri who once wrote: The soul can not be explained. For everything else there is an origami technique.

©2011 Capri Press

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