Vol.2, No.2 | [Articles] Lomero dei poveri: Melchiorre Murenu and the economic filth of Bosa



Dialect poetry experienced a resurgence in the Ottocento as authors were making a return to their dialectical roots across Italy. Italian poets were composing poetry in the dialects of their regions in an attempt to elevate their local mother tongues to a status equal to Florentine. Of all the dialect poetry produced in the Ottocento, scholars most often forget the region of Sardinia; dialect poetry manifested itself throughout Sardinia in the oral tradition, which took the form of poesia a bolu, where poets recited improvisational poetry performed for an audience. Poesia a bolu competitions produced many exceptionally clever poets, but one of the most renowned was Melchiorre Murenu with his pungent language and biting sarcasm. One of his poems was so insulting that he was rumored to have died for it: Sas isporchizias de Bosa, one of Murenu s better known poems describes superficially the filth produced by the residents of the Sardinian town of Bosa. A more profound reading, however, reveals a significant social and economic commentary. With this poem, Murenu elevates the nearly forgotten genre of poesia a bolu to a higher level by employing social awareness as the impetus for political and economic change in the impoverished and neglected state of Sardinia in the Ottocento.

Keywords : Sardinia, Melchiorre Murenu, Italian poetry, dialects, 19th century