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Writing clandestine sonnets in local dialect for over fifteen years whilst leading a respectably conformist life of letters and bureaucracy, Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli erected a lasting poetical monument to the people of nineteenth-century Rome. Set against the chequered background of the city of the six Ps - Pope, priests, princes, prostitutes, parasites and the poor - Belli's sometimes scandalous sonnets deal with life's elementals: love, death, sex, food, money, family, religion and politics. In his immense oeuvre, sampled here in a sizeable and varied selection of the best poems, people from every course and manner of life have their say - housewives, mothers, beggars, lovers, businessmen, popes, whores, doctors, thieves, lawyers, priests, penpushers, actresses, gossips and many more. Their voices and preoccupations are brilliantly and accurately rendered in this volume by Mike Stocks, one of the finest sonneteers of our day.