Erba Matta, the new book by Laura Bosio: presentation in Milan on Saturday
There is an inappropriate vegetation, the one that presses on the walls, on the houses, on the streets, and sometimes takes possession of them. A strong and significant image that “from the earth” can be reflected in the more complex dynamics that affect society and the life of the peoples who inhabit the planet, in short, in our life. Laura Bosio in Erba Matta (Editions Aboca) makes readers reflect on different worlds that intertwine: that of nature, the greenest part of our planet (which resists despite us, one might say), that of society and its “stratified” and characterized structure, among other things , from the unstoppable movement of migrants; to then devote himself to the most intimate and profound part of the human soul that the writer never neglects.
What are “crazy herbs” in reality and in metaphor?
The herbs commonly called “weeds” – says Laura Bosio – are the inappropriate vegetation that presses on the walls, houses, roads. The ivy that climb and creep in hosting nests of wasps, ants and spiders. The dandelions or dandelions or dandelions or pisse en lit that emerge from the manholes and cracks in the pavement. They are the ailanti or trees of paradise that rise weeds in the cavities of the buildings, or the roots that lift and break the asphalt climbing towards the clear. An explosion of disordered life that digs, makes room for itself, invades, frees and wins: an overbearing nature that gets angry opposing our arrogance.
What is their function in nature and in society?
The matte herbs have made their way with their exceptional adaptability. They camouflaged themselves with the cultivated plants and then came out into the open. Victorious, yes, but with the only claim to exist. They consider them “plants in the wrong place”, but they did not want it first, almost all of them have been forcibly moved to other environments and turned into an aggressive fifth column. In the journey from subtropical lands to cold Europe they have changed character. Forced to move, from the era of great travels, from one civilization to another, they have challenged the modern world, which pretends to be ordered. And they have become part of the large group of strangers who show up where they are not welcome. Stateless minority that is there to remind us that our life is not so orderly. And it is precisely from that minority that perhaps we should learn to live again, straddling the boundaries of nature as well as of society. I tried to tell it through the characters and stories of this novel. Starting with the “militant militant” girl who tells herself in first person glimpses from the beginning of the seventies, feeling like crazy grass together with an entire generation, and who has remained tied to that sentiment, even in adulthood. Knowing that perhaps the battle that does not stop fighting may already be lost.
How much is in these pages of your previous book? A school without walls and your experience as a teacher and director of the Penny Wirton Italian school for migrants in Milan?
There is a lot. It was inevitable, thinking of weeds in the way I just said, to cross the migrant movement. An unstoppable and necessary movement, even if you try by any means, often violent, unbearably cruel, to oppose it, to trample it. Without weeds, the most careful botanists say, farming wouldn’t have lasted long. The first farmers exhausted the land and then abandoned it to work on others. If there were no weeds to heal the depleted land, humans would have had to abandon this practice soon. Immigration will also help us. In the next decade, 840,000 Italians will turn 65 every year, that is the baby boomers as the protagonist of my book. In the same period, just 570,000 young people will turn 20, the children of the great decline in births in the last thirty years. Without migration, the annual negative balance will be 270,000 potential workers. It will not be possible to do without the hundreds of thousands of new workers from other countries, who will make up a substantial part of Next Generation Europe. And that they will not only bring us hands to work, but culture, energy, ideas, exchanges.
What is the “view from below” of which he speaks, and brings to life, in the novel?
It is the freedom to look at the height of a child, or a cat, or a dog. A broken sidewalk, vegetable gardens on which a distant figure bends, the blackish protrusions of nameless high rises, a bundle of colored crazy herbs that emerge from the side window of a cellar. It is the beauty of lowering oneself, of abandoning the elevated point of view and of getting lost in the accidents of the surfaces. In others as they are, as we are. Seeing the removed of the cities and countryside. To repopulate the desert we are building around us with new life.