Alfonso Gatto

Alfonso Gatto (July 17, 1909 – March 6, 1976) was an Italian author. Along with Giuseppe Ungaretti and Eugenio Montale, he is one of the foremost Italian poets of the 20th century and a major exponent of hermetic poetry. Gatto had a difficult childhood, studied at the Salerno classic lycaeum where he discovered his passion for poetry and literature. In 1926 he attended the University of Naples Federico II, but he had to discontinue his studies due to financial problems. Like many Italian poets of his age, such as Eugenio Montale and Salvatore Quasimodo, he never graduated. Gatto fell in love with the daughter of his maths teacher, Jole, and being only 21 he eloped with her to Milan. From that moment his life became quite restless and adventurous, with many changes of residence and employment: he was first a bookshop assistant, a college instructor, a proofreader, a journalist, a teacher. In 1936, because of his open anti-fascist activism, he was arrested and jailed at the San Vittore prison in Milan. During those years, Gatto had been a contributor to various innovative journals and magazines of the Italian literary culture.

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