Chiara Matraini (1515–1604?) was a member of the great flowering of poetic imitators and innovators in the Italian literary heritage begun by Petrarch, cultivated later by the lyric poet Pietro Bembo, and supplanted by the epic poet Torquato Tasso. Though without formal training, Matraini excelled in a number of literary genres popular at the time—poetry, religious meditation, discourse, and dialogue. In her midlife, she published a collection of erotic love poetry, but later in life her work shifted toward a search for spiritual salvation. Near the end of her life, she published a new poetry retrospective.
Mostly available in only a handful of rare book collections, her writings are now adeptly translated here for an English-speaking audience and situated historically in an introduction by noted Matraini expert Giovanna Rabitti. Selected Poetry and Prose allows the poet to finally take her place as one of the seminal authors of the Renaissance, next to her contemporaries Vittoria Colonna and Laura Battiferra, also published in the Other Voice series.