1348 AD is, of course, the year when the Black Death reached England and set in motion a radical change in religious, social, economic and sexual attitudes. Moreover, it’s the year when Boccaccio conceived The Decameron, his collection of a hundred novellas. Back then the decimal system was implemented but many understood it to be a mystic method from the Middle East and hence linked to the plague. The poets of the time were inspired by patterns, allegory and numerical forms. Here tercets are reminiscent of terza rima. Pasolini also inspired this pamphlet. Alas, the Black Death is still alive.
Valeria Melchioretto is the author of Podding Peas (Hearing Eye, 2004) and The End of Limbo (Salt Publishing, 2007). She won the ‘Writing Ventures Competition for Poetry’, chaired by Andrew Motion in 2005, and received a bursary from the Arts Council. Valeria Melchioretto has run writing workshops at Buckingham Palace and elsewhere. In 2012 she represented Switzerland at the Poetry Olympics at the South Bank. She has read at the Keats and Shelley House in Rome, the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and other venues; she holds an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck University.
What you have here is a cunning, witty, profound and yet playful unrolling of the literary, the fiscal, the historical and the contemporary… There is much wisdom here but, overwhelmingly, much musical and intellectual pleasure. — SIMON BARRACLOUGH