Born Jan. 12, 1870, in Montanaro Canavese; died Dec. 6, 1917, in Rome. Italian poet and journalist.
Cena studied at the University of Turin. He gained recognition with his first work, the narrative poem Mother (1897), which was devoted to the simple peasant woman. This was followed by In umbra (1899), a collection of lyrical poems depicting scenes of country life that were pervaded by love for the working people. Cena’s poetry is notable for its unaffected speech, simplicity, and sincerity. In 1902, Cena became editor in chief of Nuova antologia, a literary and sociopolitical journal published in Rome that printed translations of works by M. Gorky, A. P. Chekhov, and V. G. Korolenko. Cena interpreted socialist ideas in the spirit of humanist enlightenment. His only novel, The Forewarners (1904; published in Russian as At the Price of Life, 1905), described the life of the urban poor.
WORKSOpere complete, vols. 1–5. Turin, 1929.
Homo, sonetti. Rome, 1907.
In Russian translation:
[Pis’ma Chena k Gor’komu v 1906–1909.] In Arkhiv A. M. Gor’kogo, vol. 8. Moscow, 1960.
REFERENCESGorky, M. Sobr. soch.,vol. 29. Moscow, 1955. Pages 35, 40–41.
Saprykina, E. Iu. “Revoliuts. tema v ital. litre kontsa XIX v.” In the collection Idei sotsializma i lit. protsess na rubezhe XIX–XX vv. Moscow, 1977.
Pancrazi, P. “L’uomo e il poeta Giovanni Cena.” In his Scrittori d’oggi: Serie prima. Bari, 1946.
Z. M. POTAPOVA