Franco Fortini was born Franco Lattes in Florence in 1917 to a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, but after the racial laws of 1938 he traded his hazardous surname for his mother's maiden name. Drafted into the army in 1941, he deserted in 1943 and joined the partisans. His first book of poetry, Foglio di via (Deportation order), appeared in 1946, and his last, Composita solvantur (Let componds be dissolved), appeared in 1994, the year of his death.