All over is a collection of epic songs, of epinician odes for our day. The heroes praised are boxers, men the author identifies as the last able to truly astound, to induce awe. These epinician odes on Pindaric models are transformed in the making. What they sing about is not victory but defeat. The hero, the boxer, is deprived the possibility of attaining true “victory” through the gods’ obliging and favorable presence — a limitation that never pertained in antiquity. This is a fragile hero. An all-too human human. He is a “simple” boxer. Nothing but a man. The epinician odes, therefore, end up being direct, and matter-of-fact, in their style and content. They wind up as epigraphs, tragedies in verse form that narrate the real exploits of workday heroes, even if the resulting events are exceptional, moving us to weep, and to feel great admiration and compassion.

Gabriele Tinti is the author of New York Shots (Allemandi&C. 2011), The way of the cross (Allemandi&C. 2011) – both collaborations with Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor/director Michael Imperioli – Ring: the means of illusion (Revolver, 2012) and of A man (Danilo Montanari Editore, 2013, a collaboration with legendary actor and painter Burt Young). His books have been presented in Museums such as the Queens Museum of Art in NYC, the Triennale in Milan, MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome and the Boston Center for the Arts in Boston. His books have been acquired and can be viewed at some of the major museums of contemporary art in the world, among them the Castello di Rivoli, Torino/ Triennale, Milano/ MAMBO, Bologna/MACRO, Roma/ La Quadriennale di Roma – Roma/ ICP – International Center of Photography, New York/ Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv/ Institute of Art, Chicago/ Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid/Kunsthalle Basel/ MACBA, Barcelona/ Seattle Art Museum, Seattle/ Guggenheim, NYC/ SFMOMA, San Francisco.

Burt Young is an American actor, painter and author. He made his name playing rough-edged working class Italian- American characters, the best-known example being his signature role as Sylvester Stallone’s brother-in-law Paulie in Rocky (1976), for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He has played similar roles in Chinatown, Convoy, Back to School, The Pope of Greenwich Village, Once Upon a Time in America, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Downtown: A Street Tale, and even a brutal and darker role in Amityville II: The Possession. Young has also appeared in many television programs, including The Rockford Files, Baretta, Law& Order, Walker Texas Ranger, M*A*S*H, guest-starred in a Miami Vice episode, and made an appearance on The Sopranos (“Another Toothpick”) as Bobby Baccalieri’s father, who is dying of cancer and comes out of retirement to execute a hit on his godson. Young is a painter whose art has been displayed in galleries throughout the world. He is also a published author whose works include two filmed screenplays and 400-page historically based novel called Endings.

Nicholas Benson, the recipient of an NEA Translation Fellowship, holds a PhD in Italian from NYU and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. He is the translator of Attilio Bertolucci’s Winter Journey (Viaggio d’inverno, 1971; Parlor Press/Free Verse Editions, 2005) and Aldo Palazzeschi’s The Arsonist (L’incendiario, 1910; Otis Books/Seismicity Editions, 2013).