Fabio Pusterla was born in Mendrisio in 1957. He graduated in modern literature at the university of Pavia and lives and works between Lombardy and Switzerland, in Lugano where he teaches at the Liceo cantonale and the University of Italian Switzerland, after having taught for a few years at the university of Geneva. He was one of the founders of the literary journal "Idra", published in Milan by Marcos y Marcos. He is a poet, a translator (mostly from the French with some incursions in Portuguese literature) and an essayist. He collaborates regularly to newspapers and journals in Switzerland and Italy.
Beyond numerous studies about linguistics and literature he published with Claudia Patocchi Cultura e linguaggio della Valle Intelvi (Senna Comasco, 1983; reprint 2006), and with Angelo Stella and Cesare Repossi the anthology Lombardia (Brescia, La Scuola, 1990). He also prepared for the Fondazione Bembo the critical edition of the narrative works of Vittorio Imbriani (3 vol., Milano, Longanesi-Guanda, 1992-1994). In 2007 he published a volume of critical prose Il nervo di Arnold. Saggi e note sulla poesia contemporanea (Milano, Marcos y Marcos); in 2012 the collection of essays in part autobiographical Quando Chiasso era in Irlanda (Casagrande, Bellinzona). His interventions on schools and teaching were collected in Una goccia di splendore. Riflessioni sulla scuola (nonostante tutto) (Casagrande, Bellinzona, 2008). He edited an anthology of his pupils’ texts about their reading experiences under the title Grandi avventure di giovani lettori (Dadò, Locarno, 2012). With Elisabetta Motta he published Colori in fuga (La vita felice, Milano, 2012).
Among his translations must be signaled numerous poetical collections by Philippe Jaccottet (Il Barbagianni. L'Ignorante, with an essay by Jean Starobinski, Torino, Einaudi, 1992; Alla luce d’inverno. Pensieri sotto le nuvole, Milano Marcos y Marcos, 1997); E, tuttavia, seguito da Note dal botro (ibid., 2006) and verses collected in Edera e calce (Ancona, 1995). Also by Jaccottet he translated the travels in Italy of Libretto (Milan, Scheiwiller, 1995), Paesaggi con figure assenti (Locarno, Dadò / Coll. CH, 1996, and 2009), Austria (Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 2003), La ciotola del pellegrino (Casagrande, Bellinzona, 2007) and the substantial anthology La poesia romanda (Dadò, Locarno, 2012). He also translated and prefaced the novel Adagio by the Portuguese writer Nuno Judice (Sestante, Ripatransone, 1994), and various poetical and prose texts by Yves Bonnefoy (Antiplaton), Nicolas Bouvier (from Le dedans et le dehors), André Frénaud, Guillevic, Maurice Chappaz, Corinna Bille, Eugenio De Andrade, Benjamin Fondane, Jean-Luc Nancy, that appeared in journals and anthologies. He edited the anthology of contemporary French poetry Nel pieno giorno dell'oscurità (Milano, Marcos y Marcos, 2000) and Piccole storie crudeli by Corinna Bille (Bellinzona, Casagrande, 2001).
Many poems of his were published in journals or anthologies, and he is the author of the books Concessione all’inverno (prefaced by Maria Corti, Bellinzona, Casagrande, 1985, 2001), Bocksten (Milano, Marcos y Marcos, 1989, 2003), Le cose senza storia (ibid., 1994, 2007), Isla Persa (Locarno, I semi del Salice, 1998), Laghi e oltre (with Alida Airaghi and Anna Felder, Lietocollelibri, 1999), Pietra sangue (Milano, Marcos y Marcos, 1999), Folla sommersa (ibid., 2004); of the booklets Sotto il giardino (with French and German texts, Losanna, 1992), Tra la terra e il cielo (with Antonio Rossi e Francesco Scarabicchi, mezzotint engravings by Alberto Rocco and an'introduction by Massimo Raffaeli), Danza macabra (Lietocollelibri, 1995), Bandiere di carta (edited by Fabrizio Mugnaini, Scandicci, 1996), Movimenti sull'acqua (Lietocollelibri, 2003), Ipotesi sui castori (Flussi, Valmadrera , 2002), Sette frammenti dalla terra di nessuno (ibidem, 2003) and Le storie dell’armadillo (I Quaderni d’Orfeo, Milano, 2006). He collaborated with the artists Massimo Cavalli on the artist book Pietre for Sassello in Novazzano (2001); with Luca Mengoni for the portfolios Drosofile (2003) and Corpo stellare (2005); with Adalberto Borioli on Caverna d’infanzia (2007); for the publisher Pulcinoelefante on numerous booklets (Fiume, Deposizione, Nel mese di gennaio, febbre, dum vacat, Leo corre, Vento su rose, Anagrammi, Le pietre verdi), in collaboration with artists Luciano Ragozzino, Franco Spazzi, Jgor Ravel, Gianni Bolis e Adalberto Borioli; in the series Il robot adorabile he published Oltre le onde, with a photograph by Mario De Biasi, and the booklet Terra ritrovata (with temperas by Adalberto Borioli), while with Samoa Remy he authored the artist book Sulle rive, tra le foglie, sui rami (Lithos, 2008). In 2010 appeared the artist book Luogo basso, with five serigraphs by Jean-Michel Jaquet (Sottoscala ed.) and the collection of jocular proses Sinsigalli (con gronchi, carrubi e mestizzi) (edizioni d’If, Naples, 2010).
In 2009 he published a copious anthology Le terre emerse. Poesie 1985-2008 (Turin, Einaudi, 2009) that reassumes most of his poetic research. His most recent poetry publication is Corpo stellare (Marcos y Marcos, 2010).
His poetical works were translated into French (Me voici là dans le noir, translated by Mathilde Vischer, Lausanne, Empreintes, 2001; Une voix pour le noir, translated by Mathilde Vischer, prefaced by Philippe Jaccottet, Lausanne, Ed. D'en Bas, 2001; Deux rives, translated by Philippe Jaccottet and Béatice de Jurquet, Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, Cheyne, 2002; Les choses sans histoire, translated by Mathilde Vischer, Lausanne, Empreintes, 2002; Ultimes paysages, translated by Eric Dazzan, preface by Casimir Prat, Jögun, L’Arrière-Pays, 2009), Histoires du tatou (translated by Mathilde Vischer, Zoé, 2010), Dortoir des Ailes (translated by Claude Cazalé, Calligrammes, 2013), German (Solange Zeit bleibt, translation and preface by Hanno Helbling, postface by Massimo Raffaeli, Zürich, Limmat Verlag, 2002; a large selection in the volume, Das Gewicht eines gewendeten Blattes / Il peso di un foglio girato, ed. by Jacqueline Aerne, Orlando Budelacci and Thierry Greub, postface by Vincenzo Mengaldo, ibidem, 2004; Zur Verteidigung der Schule, translation by Barbara Sauser, Limati Verlag, 2010; Bocksten, translation by Jacqueline Aerene, ibidem, 2010 and in the special issue of the German journal Metaphorà, 3/4, 1998, ed. Michael von Killisch-Horn) and Serb (Stvari bez istorije, Beograd, Radbooks, 2003; Potopljena gomila, 2007; both translated by Dejan Illic). Numerous translations in the same languages, and others, appeared in journals and anthologies. In 2008 was published the Spanish version of Bocksten by Rafael-Jose Diaz for Qualéa editions; in 2012 the anthology Days full of caves and tigers, ed. by Simon Knight for Arc Publications.
Danilo Catti directed a documentary movie about him: Salamandre, gatti ciechi, rotaie, in the cycle "Lettere dalla Svizzera" (produced by SRG SSR idéé suisse, 1998).
He won major awards such as the Montale prize (1986), the Schiller prize (1986, 2000, 2010), the Dessì prize (2009); the Prezzolini (1994), Lionello Fiumi (2007) and Achille Marazza (2008) prizes for literary translation; the Gottfried Keller prize (2007), the Swiff Prize for Literature (2013) and the Napoli prize (2013) for his whole career.