November 7, 2023
On Federico Tavan
“A poet who is not also a heretic,” Aldo tells me as I lean forward to catch his words, “is not a poet.” As for the miller Menocchio and for Pasolini, heresy was connatured to Federico’s persona—not a mere intellectual exercise. For Pasolini and Federico, furthermore, it was no longer only about the Catholic Church. It had to do, instead, with their inability and unwillingness to participate in the reigning ideologies of their time: petty bourgeois propriety, at first, and the hedonism that crept behind the countercultural movements of the ’60s and ’70s, later, when capitalist power needed “a new kind of subject,” in the words of Pasolini.