News

Register now for a 10 day food tour lead by Peter Barrett

This November 5-14, join us for a ten day cooking workshop lead by food photographer, writer, and visual artist, Peter Barrett.

 

The tour will consist of a sojourn at the Castle where guests will immerse themselves in the culinary culture of Italy’s Umbria region. Our workshop will be the castle’s kitchen, run by native Umbrian, Romana Ciubini, where, under her tutelage, the group will learn the secrets of bread gnocchi, eggless pasta, and torta al testo among a host of other local dishes.

 

The tour will also include explorative day-trips into the greater Umbrian countryside, where guests and hosts will visit important regional sites of culture and industry, including local winemakers, olive orchards, salumerie, and more.

 

The trip is limited to twelve people. The fee of $3,000 per person will cover everything, including accommodations in our 15th century castle, and lunch and dinner every day. Air travel to Rome (and any connecting flights you require) will not be included.

 

Please visit Peter Barrett's blogQui si mangia bene, to find a more detailed descritopn of the tour.

 

For more information about the registration and logistics of the trip, contact molly@civitella.org

Winter at Civitella

Those of us who live in Umbria love the winter season. Visibility is enhanced by the cold and the smell of wood smoke from farmhouse chimneys is in the air. Hiking and walking become a daily routine. The quiet and the solitude make an ideal environment to get work done.

 

As of 2017, you as Civitellians can partake of that still, lovely season as well. We are happy to announce that ten of our residencies will be available to you for the months of January, February, March and April. All apartments have heat and cooking facilities and all have Wi-Fi. Minimum stays of one week are encouraged, but priority will be given to longer stays. Meals are not offered in this time period.

Our staff will be on hand to assist you. Paola in the office has the keys to the Civitella car, which we will make available to you at a mileage fee. If you envision consistent or daily use of the car, we strongly suggest renting a vehicle of your own. Paola can help with photocopying or mail, appointments or questions. Diego, too, is full time at the Castle as of February 1 to assist with any technical issues. Dana is back and forth from New York in this period, but both Patrizia Caini, the head of housekeeping and Maurizio, the custodian and gardener are full time.


If desired, occasional meals can be catered by Patrizia for a small fee as requested. The Castle gym (rowing machine, treadmill, stationary bicycle, weights) will be open as well as the communal Open Studio equipped with great lighting and work areas, hand tools, electric tools, some art and construction supplies. The Castle Library collection, now at 10,000 volumes including the Mark Strand library, although cold, will be available to you 24 hours a day.

 

Below are our available spaces and the rate per night. Email to reserve your rooms now, as spaces for 2018 are quickly filling up.

 

Pizza
This is the most beloved of all the composers’ spaces at Civitella. A free-standing house just outside the Civitella gates, Pizza was has a master bedroom that sleeps two, a full kitchen and bathroom, and a beautiful studio with glass doors that open to the private grounds and gardens. Our Steinway grand piano is in this studio space and available for your use.
60 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 80 euro. 
 

Arco
Arco is not unlike a gondolier’s house in Venice. One enters on the ground floor and walks up a flight of stairs to the main floor with its small kitchen and work area. A comfortable armchair looks out to the best view of the castle of any of our apartments. Another flight of stairs brings you upstairs to the bedroom and bathroom. This is ideal for a writer.
45 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 65 euro.

 

Granaio
Granaio is housed within the castle walls. A flight of stairs brings you up to a long spacious loft space with a full kitchen, living room/sitting area, bedroom and bathroom with tub and shower. This is where grain was stored in the early days of the Castle, but now for years it has become a favorite studio for composers and writers. An upright piano is included here.
50 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 70 euro.

 

Castrabecco Su
This is the upstairs floor of the farmhouse known as ‘Castrabecco.’ It is ideal for two or three people and includes a large master bedroom with its own bathroom, a studiolo, another smaller bedroom with a private bathroom, living room with working fireplace, and full kitchen. The views from this apartment are spectacular. 
50 euro per night per person.

 

Orto
This is our newest refurbished mini apartment. On the ground floor of Castrabecco, this is a one room studio ideal for a writer. One enters through glass doors to a double bedded bedroom that shares space with a small kitchen (two burners only), kitchen table, comfortable reading chair. Full bathroom with tub, nice desk area for working.
40 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 60 euro. 
 

Tinaia

Tinaia is one of our newly restored spaces overlooking the Secret Garden. It has a private entrance, beamed ceilings, efficiency kitchen, bathroom with shower, and a livingroom/studio with a baby grand piano. The piano, just restored, belonged to Ursula Corning's mother.

45 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 65 euro.

 

Giardino

Giardino is one of our newly restored spaces overlooking the Secret Garden.  It consists of a bathroom, kitchen, and large studio/living area. Terracotta floor tiles, beamed ceilings, private entrance and magnificent views of the secret garden.
45 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 65 euro.

 

Lulu

Lulu is a perfect space for a writer or scholar. One enters through the gallery to a one room apartment with a full bath (including bath tub and shower), efficiency kitchen, and small table/work area. The apartment provides easy access to the Secret Garden.
35 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 55 euro.

 

Upupa

Upupa is a stone and brick ground floor apartment close to the offices. The studio/kitchen looks out over the lush green lawn in front of the castle. It is full of natural light thanks to large glass doors. A newly remodeled bathroom separates the studio/kitchen from the bedroom.  The entire suite is accessible for those with mobility issues.
45 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 65 euro.


Please contact Diego Mencaroni (diego@civitella.org) to request dates for 2018. 

Support Civitella
Pictured: James Muriuki (CRF 2017)

Carissimi Civitellians,

 

Thank you for your continuing contributions over the past many years.

 

In 2018 we will concentrate more on people and programs than physical spaces. We increasingly worry about artists in danger internationally and those who have seen their mobility curtailed. We want to do our part to give these artists respite at Civitella, and to ensure that those needing to travel for their work can do so safely.

 

We ask you to help replenish our Fellows' Fund designed to help Fellows with less resources be fully included in all residency activities. We want to offer more robust gallery programming, stronger alliances with Italian cultural agencies, and deeper ties with underrepresented nations.

 

Your donation to our general fund is a direct investment in realizing these goals. Every gift, regardless of size, is valuable and deeply appreciated. Please join the many Fellows, Guests, and Friends who support Civitella each year and give as generously as your situation allows. Our work has never been more important!

 

Dana Prescott, Executive Director

Ceremony for Remembering the Doorless World by Aracelis Girmay
Celebrating National Poetry Month

This month we join the Academy of American Poets in celebrating National Poetry Month. 

 

To celebrate, we share work by Civitellian Alumns who have been featured on the Poem-A-Day series. April 12th, featured Aracelis Girmay (CRF 2013) with the previously unpublished poem, Ceremony for Remembering the Doorless World. 

 

 

Copyright © 2018 by Aracelis Girmay. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 12, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Yun-Fei Ji: Rumors, Ridicules, and Retributions
James Cohan, New York

James Cohan will present Rumors, Ridicules, and Retributions an exhibition of new work by Yun-Fei Ji (CRF 2010) at the gallery’s Lower East Side location from Saturday, April 28 through Sunday, June 17.  This is Ji’s fourth solo exhibition at James Cohan. The gallery will host an opening reception on Saturday, April 28 from 6-8 PM.

Announcing Interns for 2018 Season

Civitella is pleased to welcome Phebe Miner, and Louisianna Tekosky as our 2018 Interns. Interns at Civitella are a treasured and integral part of our community and daily life. They provide assistance with library functions, the meal program, excursions, presentations, and exhibitions at the Castle, working with both Executive Director, Dana Prescott and Program Coordinator, Diego Mencaroni on a variety of special projects built around individual interests, experience, goals, and skills.

 

From Phebe: I am thrilled to be returning to Italy after five years in Washington, D.C. to assist the staff and fellows of Civitella. I look forward to spending my three months at the castle learning, writing, exploring, and experiencing life in Italy all over again. I have so much to gain from immersing myself in this diverse and enriching artistic community, and I look forward to contributing in every way I can.

 

From Louisianna: I studied abroad in Viterbo a year and found an Italian host family and a throng of Italian friends who welcomed me so graciously and warmly that Italy became a new home. The love I have for Italy runs deeply and, therefore, I am thrilled by the opportunity to work and live in the country once again.

 

Working as an intern for Civitella seems like the perfect culmination of my passions. Art, in all its mediums, has been a crucial component to my education. I believe where artists meet is where knowledge blooms. I am ecstatic about joining the Civitella community where I can share and experience how art builds relationships and makes us passionate!

Announcing our New Special Projects Coordinator

Hope Campbell Gustafson, twice an intern at Civitella, will join the New York staff as a Special Projects Coordinator to organize for Civitella's 25th anniversary events and celebrations. She will develop contact with our worldwide alumni, will organize worldwide events focusing on Civitella and New York, and will evaluate the activities once they are complete.

 

A Minneapolis native, she graduated from Wesleyan University in 2012, after which she lived in Italy for four years. Hope is currently finishing up her MFA in the Literary Translation Workshop at the University of Iowa, her thesis a translation of Ubah Cristina Ali Farah's Il comandante del fiume.  

Announcing our New Program Coordinator in NY

We are happy to welcome Molly Lapointe to our New York staff. She takes on Hillary Giacomelli's position as Program Coordinator. Once candidates are accepted to Civitella, Molly is their main contact for flight and travel information, orientation materials, and many other special projects from fund raising to working with alumni.

 

From Molly: 

A recent Mount Holyoke College graduate from Maine, I have spent the last year living and working in France. I am a lover of languages, traveling, art, and food, and last summer I was fortunate enough to intern for Civitella in Umbertide. I saw how creative inspiration and collaboration naturally spring from the environment, and from the mission of sharing and hospitality that was all begun by Ursula Corning. I am beyond thrilled that I have this opportunity to re-join the Civitella family and serve CRF as Program Coordinator in NYC. I am eager to become more intimately and continuously involved with the foundation, and I look forward to getting to know all of you fellows-to-come who will span generations and continents... I can’t wait to get started! 

 

Joan La Barbara: The Wanderlusting of Joseph C.
The Met Fifth Avenue, Gallery 915

Friday, April 13, The MetLiveArts presets The Wanderlusting of Joseph C., a performance by composer Joan La Barbara (CRF 2013). 

 

Lyrics for the perfomarnce will be read by Monique Truong (CRF 2013). 

 

Also featured: 
Lauren Flanigan, soprano
Mario Diaz-Moresco, baritone
Miguel Frasconi, flute
Bryan Hayslett, cello
Monique Truong, lyricist

 

Friday, April 13
6:00–7:00 PM

Composer and performer Joan La Barbara has been mining the life and work of Joseph Cornell for many years.  In this free-with-Museum admission performance she presents selections from her epic song cycle "The Wanderlusting of Joseph C." along with "Windows" and "Habité par ses rêves et les phantasms."

 

Inspired by the obsessions, visions, and dreams of the American visual artist Joseph Cornell, "The Wanderlusting of Joseph C." is a new song cycle composed by Joan La Barbara with lyrics by Monique Truong. "Wanderlust," a word coined by Cornell and appearing often in his journals, captures the two longings, the two impossibilities–travel and eros–of this man’s outwardly quiet, staid life. In his dreams and his art though, Joseph C. transcends and revels in both wander and lust. The dreamscape prelude to the song cycle is "Windows," a 'sonic atmosphere' La Barbara created from 13 years of instrumental, vocal, and natural sound recordings, inspired by Cornell's journal entries and ethereal boxes and whispers from Virginia Woolf. "Habité par ses rêves et les phantasms" (2009) for voice and handheld percussion is the first work she composed inspired by Cornell and uses fragments from Joseph Cornell's journals that describe elements of dreams, the catalysts for much of his work, to generate her sonic reflections.

Darren Waterston: Ecstatic Landscape
DC Moore Gallery, New York

Opening March 23, is Ecstatic Landscape, an exhibition of new work by Darren Waterston (CRF 2005) at DC Moore Gallery. The exhibition will be on view through April 28, 2018. 

 

Opening Reception: Friday, March 23, 6 - 8 PM

Exhibiiotn Dates: March 23 - April 28, 2018 

 

April 19th, 6:30pm, Darren Waterston will be in Conversation with Susan Cross, Curator of Visual Arts at MASS MoCA.

RSVP at skhosla@dcmooregallery.com

 

DC Moore Gallery is delighted to announce Ecstatic Landscape, an exhibition of new work by Darren Waterston. Though they draw from the long lineage of landscape painting, Waterston’s works are unbound, moving through uncharted territory. His works broach the psychological through a surreal and abstracted approach to the genre rather than taking a strictly descriptive method. The paintings are seductive, drawing the viewer in by their majesty and monstrousness. Thwarted by their artifice, one is left with a sense of yearning for something not quite attainable.

 

Bill Jacobson and Giorgio Morandi: Photographs and Drawings
Robert Morat Galerie, Berlin

Bill Jacobson’s (CRF 2013) Place (Series) photographs will be exhibited alongside drawings by Giorgio Morandi at Robert Morat Galerie, in Berlin, from March 17 to May 5, 2018.

 

Opening reception: Friday, March 16 at 7 PM

Exhibition dates: March 17 to May 5, 2018

 

Bill Jacobson created Place (Series) between 2009 and 2013, completing the work with the assistance of a 2012 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. The artist describes these photographs as “the result of inserting rectangles of various sizes and surfaces within both constructed and natural settings”.  As opposed to the out-of-focus portraits and landscapes for which he initially became known in the 1990s, these photographs speak to our perceptual interactions with the physical world that surrounds us.  With this work Jacobson, not unlike Morandi, employs a repeated form set within a shallow architectural space.

Celia Hempton: Breach
Galleria Lorcan O'Neill Roma

Galleria Lorcan O'Neill Roma presents Breach, featuring recent works by Celia Hempton (CRF 2014). The exhibition runs through April 18, 2018.

 

Her show features two bodies of work; a group of paintings made last summer on repeat visits to the crater of the active volcano on the Sicilian Island of Stromboli; and pictures made with imagery sourced from hacked security cameras.

Luchezar Boyadjiev: Dystopian Cozy
SARIEV Contemporary, Plovdiv

SARIEV Contemporary, Plovdiv is pleased to present Dystopian Cozy, the first solo show of Luchezar Boyadjiev (CRF 2017) at the gallery. The exhibition runs concurrently with Luchezar Boyadjiev. Sic Transit Media Mundi (The present is too short and rather tight) at Sofia City Art Gallery. 

 

Dystopian Cozy is on view through March 24, 2018 

SARIEV Contemporary, Plovdiv

 

Luchezar Boyadjiev. Sic Transit Media Mundi is on view through March 11, 2018 

Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia 

 

2018 Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship
Molly McCully Brown

Congratulations to Molly McCully Brown (CRF 2017) on being selected as the 2018 Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholar. The award is given annually to support travel abroad for gifted American-born poets.

 

Molly is the author of The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017), which won the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. Additionally, she has published many pieces of poetry and essays and is a Jeff Baskin Writers Fellow at the Oxford American. Her work has appeared in the LA Review of Books, the New York Times, and Publishers Weekly, among many other accomplishments.

Scott Johnson: Mind Out Of Matter
Tzadik Records

Scott Johnson's (CRF 2009) Mind Out Of Matter is a work combining Johnson's two perennial interests: "the use of speech melody to generate accompanying instrumental music, and the hybridization of rock and classical strands of musical DNA." The work is a "sprawling, extended, 74-minute, eight-movement suite" performed by Alarm Will Sound, and is available at the Tzadik Records website below.

 

"Philosopher Daniel C. Dennett’s voice is perhaps the best melody generator I’ve worked with in my speech sampling pieces, and the musicians of Alarm Will Sound rock on a demanding score that tracks Dennett’s train of thought in momentary detail.  I sometimes think of the result as the audible equivalent of a medieval illuminated manuscript."

Miguel Rothschild: Camera Chiara and De Profundis
Stiftung St. Mathäus, Berlin-Tiergarten

Miguel Rothschild (CRF 2008) is exhibiting two installations, Camera Chiara and De Profundis, at Sankt Matthäuskirche in Berlin-Tiergarten. The installations will run through May 30th and March 30th, respectively.

Works by Helena Tulve Premiered at the AFEKT Festival
Akademie der Künste, Berlin

Helena Tulve (CRF 2017) has premiered her piece, There Are Tears at the Heart of Things, a composition for flute, clarinet, harp, and percussion, performed by Ensemble Adapter at the International Contemporary Music Festival AFEKT in Berlin.

From the AFEKT event page:

The International Contemporary Music Festival AFEKT (Estonia) presents itself for the first time in Berlin. Set in the Akademie der Künste’s distinctive architecture on Pariser Platz, Ensemblekollektiv Berlin and AFEKT soloists will perform Rebecca Saunders’ sound collage Stasis, a world premiere by Helena Tulve, and excerpts from the multimedia Requiem by Jüri Reinvere. The composers will also discuss their music with Monika Mattiesen, director of the AFEKT Festival.

 

With the kind support of the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung.

Recent Publications by Tom Sleigh

Two new books, House of Fact, House of Ruin and The Land Between Two Rivers: Writing in an Age of Refugees, both published by Graywolf Press, have been released from Tom Sleigh (CRF 2014). Visit his website for reviews and additional information on where the books can be purchased.

 

Additionally, some readings and events related to the books are scheduled throughout the upcoming weeks at venues in various cities around the country, including two events in New York City, one on March 20th and the other on April 30th. For more information regarding the events, see Tom's website below.

Anna Weesner Wins Virgil Thompson Award
New York, February 6, 2018

Anna Weesner (DG 2015) has won the Virgil Thomson Award in Vocal Music of $40,000. The award, endowed by the Virgil Thomson Foundation and administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, recognizes an American composer of vocal works. Candidates were nominated by the Academy’s members, and the winner was chosen by a special jury comprised of composers William Bolcom, Robert Beaser, John Harbison (CRF 2001), and Tania León (CRF 2003). The award will be given at the annual Ceremonial in mid-May.

 

Kate Soper Featured in The New York Times

Kate Soper (CRF 2017) was featured in converasation with Zachary Wolff of The New York Times regarding the recent production of her Opera, Here Be Sirens, at National Sawdust in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, performed by the Fresh Squeezed Opera Company.

 

Thumbnail photograph: Kate Soper, by An Rong Xu for The New York Times

Maaria Wirkkala Awarded Order of the Star of Italy
Ambasciata D'Italia, Helsinki

Maaria Wirkkala (CRF 2013) was presented with the Order of the Star of Italy, or the Cavaliere Dell'Ordine Della Stella D'Italia, at an evenening celebrating the opening of the Ippolito Caffi exhibition at the Sinebrychoff Museum in Helsinki. The award, originally created in the post-war period, honors Italians in diaspora and foreign nationals who contributed to the strengthening of ties between Italy and countries abroad.

 

Pictured: Ambasciatore Gabriele Altana conferring the award to Maaria Wirkkala, January 30, 2018

Andrea Barnet: Visionary Women

Andrea Barnet (DG 2010), author of All-Night Party: The women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930, has published a new book, Visionary Women, wihch tells the story of four visionaries who profoundly shaped the world we live in today. Together, these women—linked not by friendship or field, but by their choice to break with convention—showed what one person speaking truth to power can do. Jane Jacobs fought for livable cities and strong communities; Rachel Carson warned us about poisoning the environment; Jane Goodall demonstrated the indelible kinship between humans and animals; and Alice Waters urged us to reconsider what and how we eat.

Terrance Hayes Reads Matthew Dickman
Poetry Podcast, The New Yorker

Terrance Hayes (CRF 2015) joins Kevin Young to read and discuss Matthew Dickman’s (CRF 2016) poem “Fire” and his own poem “New York Poem” on The New Yorker's Poetry Podcast. 

 

 

 

Four Civitellians Named Finalists for the Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards
Claremont Graduate University

Claremont Graduate University recently announced the selection of the finalists for the 2018 Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards.

 

More than 470 titles were submitted by individuals and publishers for consideration this year. Ten finalists (five for each of the two awards) were chosen by a finalists judging committee led by Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine.

 

Among the ten finalists are four Civitella Fellows. 

For the Kate Tufts Discovery Award: 

Mai Der Vang (CRF 2017), Afterland, Graywolf Press

 

Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award:

Paisley Rekdal (CRF 2017), Imaginary Vessels, Copper Canyon Press

Patricia Smith (CRF 2017), Incendiary Art: Poems, TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern UP

Monica Youn (CRF 2013), Blackacre, Graywolf Press

 

 

 

Ocean Vuong Receives TS Eliot Prize

The Guardian announced that Ocean Vuong (CRF 2016) has been awarded the prestigious TS Eliot Prize for his debut collection of poetry, Night Sky With Exit Wounds:

 

"After becoming the first literate person in his family and a prize-winning poet festooned with awards, Ocean Vuong has now won perhaps his most prestigious accolade yet for his debut collection: the TS Eliot prize...Vuong is only the second debut poet to win the TS Eliot prize, two years after Sarah Howe [CRF 2017] became the first, winning for Loop of Jade in 2016."

 

An Italian translation of Vuong's Collection is available here.

Link to the full Guardian article below. 

 

 

Thumbnail photograph: Adrian Pope, The Guardian 

Ron Padgett Receives the Frost Medal
The Poetry Society of America

The Poetry Society of America announces Ron Padgett (CRF 2003) as the 2018 recipient of the organization's highest award, the Frost Medal. 

 

The Frost Medal is presented annually for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry. 

 

The Annual Awards ceremony, which will honor Ron Padgett and celebrate the winners of the Poetry Society of America's 11 other annual awards will take place on April 10th, 2018 at The National Arts Club in New York City.

Molding / Mark-Making: 
Ceramic Artists And Their Drawings
Dorsky Gallery, Long Island City

The group exhibition, Molding / Mark-Making, featuring work by Elisa D’Arrigo (CRF 2013), opens Sunday, January 21, 2-5 PM at Dorsky Gallery, Long Island City. The show is curated by Margaret Mathews-Berenson and Allison Peller and runs through March 25.  

 

January 21 – March 25, 2018
Opening reception: Sunday, January 21, 2:00–5:00 PM

11-03 45th Ave., Long Island City, NY

The Dark Side of the Gold Rush
The New Yorker

Annie Gosfield (CRF 2008) was featured in the New Yorker's Musical Events section of the December 11 issue. 

 

By Alex Ross 

 

"Gosfield, a New York-based composer with a virtuosic command of classical, pop, and avant-garde styles, began the score before “fake news” entered the lexicon. Like [Orson] Welles, she places the reality-bending power of the media under scrutiny."

The Art Students League Appoints Michael Rips Executive Director

The Art Students League of New York announced that prominent arts advocate and collector, Michael Rips (DG 2017) has been named Executive Director. 

 

Photo by Ric Ocasek
 

Civitella featured in the Italian Insider

The Italian Insider featured Civitella in "Civitella Ranieri- A haven for international artists," which discusses Civitella's history, mission, diversity of Fellows, and engagement with the local community. The article also highlights the importance of Civitella as an institution that provides a safe haven in which Fellows can work and share ideas. 

Samantha Schweblin: Fever Dream

Samanta Schweblin's (CRF 2011) Fever Dream received a glowing review in The New York Times. Below is an excerpt: 

"To call Schweblin’s novella eerie and hallucinatory is only to gesture at its compact power; the fantastical here simply dilates a reality we begin to accept as terrifying and true. A woman named Amanda lies on a hospital gurney, recounting her story to David, a boy who pushes her to relive the events that have brought her there, wrapped in the rough sheets of her deathbed, able to talk but unable to move."

"She describes traveling with her young daughter to a vacation rental outside the capital and meeting David’s mother, who immediately insinuates that something so monstrous has happened to David that she no longer considers him her son. 'The first time they put him in my arms, I was so anxious. I was convinced he was missing a finger,' she says, remembering when she had a new mother’s ordinary fears. 'What I wouldn’t give now for David to simply be missing a finger.'

 

The tale that follows is a swift descent into phantasmagoria, as the dialogue between Amanda and David — translated into lucid English by McDowell — turns into a cleareyed reminiscence of horror and a struggle for narrative control. “How different are you now from the David of six years ago?” Amanda asks. “What did you do that was so terrible your own mother no longer accepts you as hers?” Damaged children, a degraded earth, souls that move between bodies but never find rest: Schweblin’s book is suffused with haunting images and big questions, and in Amanda she places a mother’s all-consuming love and fear for her child. Amanda remembers how she would constantly measure the “rescue distance” that separated her from her daughter. As the distance tightens, as Amanda feels that her daughter is closer than ever, she will learn the grim and fateful lesson that maternal instincts count for little in an insidiously poisoned world."

Celeste Maia artist book video

Presentation of an artist book by Celeste Maia (CRF 2010) on the turbulent and dangerous 14th Century love story between Ines de Castro and Pedro of Portugal.

 

Carolyn Forché wins Windham-Campbell prize

Congratulations to Civitellian Carolyn Forché (CRF 2012) on winning a Windham-Campbell prize in poetry!


The Windham-Campbell prizes are global English-language awards that call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns. Prizewinners receive an unrestricted grant of $165,000.

Winner of the 2017 Walt Whitman Award
Jenny Xie

We are happy to share that Jenny Xie is the winner of the 2017 Academy of American Poets' Walt Whitman Award, the nation’s most valuable first-book prize for a poet. Xie’s manuscript, Eye Level, will be published by Graywolf Press in April 2018, and she will receive a six-week residency at Civitella Ranieri as well as $5,000.

Mark Strand Booklet
Anywhere Could be Somewhere: Remembering Mark Strand

2016 Intern, Elinor Kirchwey, created the booklet Anywhere Could be Somewhere: Remembering Mark Strand from compiled memories, anecdotes, and stories about our much-loved friend and poet, Mark Strand. It is available for a donation of $15, which includes shipping. You can purchase a booklet on our Donate page here.

Civitellians Featured in 'The Artist Project'
The Artist Project at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The following eight Civitellians are featured in The Met's The Artist Project (videos are linked). The Artist Project is an online series in which The Met gives artists an opportunity to respond to its encyclopedic collection.

 

Xu Bing (CRF 1999)

Petah Coyne (CRF 2005)

Deborah Kass (DG 2009)

Nalini Malani (CRF 2003)

Kerry James Marshall (CRF 1998)

Sopheap Pich (CRF 2013)

Liliana Porter (CRF 1999)

Martha Rosler (CRF 2009)

James Siena (DG 2010)

From March 2015 to June 2016, The Met will invite 120 artists—local, national, and global—to choose individual works of art or galleries that spark their imaginations. In this online series, artists reflect on what art is, what inspires them from across 5,000 years of art, and in so doing, they reveal the power of a museum and The Met. Their unique and passionate ways of seeing and experiencing art encourage all museum visitors to look in a personal way.

Over the course of six seasons, The Artist Project will share the perspectives of one hundred and twenty artists with the public, telling us what they see when they look at The Met.

Mark Strand Library Gift to Civitella
Foundation will receive the late poet's books

The poetry world was recently hard hit by the death of Mark Strand in November, 2014.  Mark, who had been a frequent visitor to Umbria and to Civitella Ranieri Foundation, had been planning a return visit in the summer of 2015.  His lifelong friend, Yale painter Bill Bailey, lives just minutes from the Castle, and during the summers when Mark was not visiting Civitella, he was visiting Bill.

 

It was at Civitella that Mark wrote most of his last book, Almost Invisible, a collection of prose pieces.  He usually wrote sitting in the sun at the picnic table in what is called the Fellows' Garden.

Over the past several years, Mark had moved from Chicago to New York, and then from New York to Madrid, and back to New York.  With each move he pared down his library.  “There's only about 400 books that really mean anything to me anymore," he said.  "I just want to get down to 400 books.” Civitella was the lucky recipients of his cast-offs.

 

His initial gifts of books to Civitella numbered 1200 volumes, primarily poetry in English, but many books of poetry in Spanish and Italian.  There were numerous volumes of literary criticism, philosophy, the Classics, and books on theory. 

 

Many of the books were sent to him from hopeful writers with handwritten notes still inside them reading something like, "Dear Mark, Great to meet you last night and thank you for your interest in my work.  Here as promised is my latest book...." 

The last time Mark was a Director's Guest at Civitella, in 2011, he was reading the new translation of Don Quixote.  “I don't want it to end,” he said, “I am reading it so slowly because I don't want to finish it.”

 

Shortly before his death, writer Jean McGarry was a Fellow in residence at Civitella.  She had been a friend of Mark's during his Baltimore Johns Hopkins days, and she wrote often to him to tell him about her experience in Umbria.  It was she who convinced Strand to give the balance of his library to the Foundation, to keep the collection together, to which he agreed.  He wrote to her, “I love giving books to Civitella. They are needed. I just keep thinning out my library.”

 

While she was still in residence at Civitella, Jean helped Executive Director Dana Prescott prioritize his books for cataloguing.

 

Jean wrote to Mark, “What an experience today, going through the boxes of books you sent to Civitella.  I always knew you were a reader, and you never recommended to me anything that didn't become a part of my brain and soul, but still, I was staggered by what I saw.  Dana and I made a short list of things that need to be catalogued and shelved NOW.  We will return and make a second, third, and fourth selection, but every one of these books is a treasure.  I hope you plan to promise the rest of your library to this magical place, where you are the genius loci.  They will be​ read and treasured (and studied) with the utmost reverence.  (I hate to use that word, but yesterday, we went to San Sepolchro, and I am suffused with the spirit of your beloved Piero.)”

 

With Mark Strand's will just out of probate, his daughter, Jessica, has told the Foundation that Civitella stands to inherit the balance of this great personal library.  Another 3500 books will arrive shortly and the Foundation will begin the work of cataloguing each volume, and making the books accessible to its Fellows and Director's Guests.  Eventually the collection will be posted on line and also made public to visiting scholars.

Donations to support the installation and cataloguing of the collection at the Castle are welcomed.  Please visit www.civitella.org for details about giving to the foundation or to contact us with questions.  Civitella Ranieri Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 operating foundation based in New York.  All US contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.