Alessandro Vettori “Poets of DIVINE LOVE – Franciscan Mystical Poetry of the Thirteenth Century”, Fordham University Press, 2004, Introduction, page XIV
THE UNDENIABLE PRIMOGENITURE
Alessandro Vettori wrtites:
Besides implying a return to the “origin” as a symbol of a pure, uncontaminated past, “originality” signifies the creative, inventive establishment of a fresh, novel element, such as poetry in the vernacular was in thirtheenth-century Italy. The lyrical texts of Francis and Iacopone mark the beginning of literary production in Italian – at least in the realm of religious poetry. Writing vernacular poetry about God constitutes the daring endeavour, which the two Franciscan poets introduce into the Italian canon before Dante.
Francis and Iacopone also share the same literary genre. “The Canticle of Brother Sun”, Francis’ only attributable poetic text in the vernacular, is a lauda. Iacopone wrote the Laude, a collection of more than one hundred poems in the genre of lauda. By Francis’ time, and even more so by Iacopone’s, lauda was a well established poetic genre and a popular form of prayer … The birthplace of Laude in Italian was Umbria, the region of Francis and Iacopone.
If you allow me,
I would like to emphasize that it is fair to say that Francis began poetry in the vernacular with “Laudato si”, but it is evident that the one who gave full development to this form of poetry is Jacopone, with his more than a hundred lauds. If there is a ‘Father’ of Italian poetry, it is Dante, but if there is also a ‘Grandfather’ (and how could it be otherwise: there are no fathers without grandfathers) that ‘Grandfather’ is Jacopone!