A Summer Night at Civitella
Tuesday August 21st, 2018

On Tuesday, August 21st, please join us at the Castle for a movie night and silent auction. See below for more info.

From 6:30pm to 8:30pm, make a bid at our annual Silent Auction where you can acquire products varying from fine wines to food stuffs, bigiotteria, gadgets, art work, massages, collectibles, services, etc. The lucky winners will be announced that evening. Many products have been donated by our sponsors and friends. Perhaps you have something to donate to this annual good cause—if so, let us know, as we welcome your participation.


Also from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, we will sell books ranging in price from €1 to €20, and CDs at €2 each. Many duplicate books from the Mark Strand collection will be available. Please come to see the many books we are offering and share this news with friends and colleagues. There are some spectacular finds including some first editions.


Starting from 9:00pm, under the Holm oaks of the Russian Terrace, Federico Fellini's Lo sceicco bianco (The White Sheik), a classic Italian romantic comedy from 1952 starring Alberto Sordi with English subtitles, will be projected. As always, we supply the popcorn!


All evening, from 6:30pm on, you are invited to picnic on the grounds of the Castle's Secret Garden. Water and some wine will be provided, but we invite you to bring your own libation as well. Please bring your own picnic dinner and blanket. Invite friends and family to join you for this evening of complete pleasure, cool breezes, good company and entertainment!


Please don't hesitate to contact us via email or phone with any questions. Looking forward to seeing you all!


Tuesday · August 21st, 2018
from 6:30pm

For more info, please contact
or phone to 075.782.5228




Martedì 21 agosto, siete tutti invitati al Castello per tre eventi separati ma tra di loro connessi:


Dalle 18:30 alle 20:30 potrete partecipare la nostra Asta Silenziosa, nel corso della quale potrete comprare vari prodotti rilanciando sul prezzo base: da vini di qualità a cibi di pregio, gadgets, lavori artistici, massaggi, servizi, piante, materiali per i lavoretti domestici. I vincitori saranno annunciati prima del film. Molti prodotti sono stati donati dai nostri amici e dai nostri sponsor. Nel caso in cui anche voi vorreste donare qualcosa per questo evento, vi preghiamo di contattarci.


Sempre durante questo orario metteremo a disposizione alcune copie dei libri che fanno parte della nostra collezione, il loro prezzo varierà da €1 a €20; inoltre venderemo i nostri CD a €2 ciascuno. Molti dei libri che saranno in vendita appartengono alla collezione di Mark Strand. Spargete la voce tra i vostri amici e colleghi, si possono trovare dei volumi di indubbio interesse.


A partire dalle 21:00, sotto i lecci della Terrazza Russa, sarà proiettato Lo sceicco bianco, uno dei classici della cinematografia italiana diretto da Federico Fellini nel 1952, con Alberto Sordi, sottotitolato in inglese. Come orma di consuetudine, saranno offerti popcorn.


Per tutta la sera, a partire dalle 18:30, potrete fare un picnic nel Giardino Segreto. Metteremo a disposizione acqua e vino (anche se è vi consigliamo di portare il vostro). Voi dovrete solo portare il cibo ed un telo per stendervi. Per qualsiasi domanda vi preghiamo di contattarci via email. Portate le vostre famiglie, i vostri amci per questa serata di divertimento assicurato, in ottima compagnia.


Contattateci via email o per telefono nel caso aveste qualsiasi domanda. Vi aspettiamo!


Martedì · 21 agosto 2018
dalle 18:30 in poi

Per maggiori informazioni contattare
via email news@civitella.org
o via telefono 075.782.5228

Painting in the Contact Zone: Philip Guston and Italy
Monday September 3rd, 2018

On Monday, September 3rd, Peter Benson Miller will present a lecture on artist Philip Guston. Read more below.

In the decades following the Second World War, Rome was a productive workplace for American artists and intellectuals. According to the internationally-minded Italian artist Piero Dorazio, one of the founders of the group Forma 1, “Rome was like Paris, it had become the navel of art in Europe. Americans were no longer going to Paris—that had been in the twenties and thirties. In the fifties, Rome was full of artists.” Awed by historical grandeur and artistic forebears in Italy, American artists also encountered a complex contemporary art world of entangled Cold War cultural politics, ideological struggles, and aesthetic debates. This talk will reconsider the Italian sojourns of Philip Guston, traditionally viewed as more attentive to developments in Paris, foregrounding instead the politicized artistic community and the challenges of painting in what cultural historian Mary Louise Pratt has termed a “contact zone.”


Peter Benson Miller is the Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome. An art historian and curator, he organized Philip Guston, Roma, held at the Museo Carlo Bilotti- Aranciera di Villa Borghese, Rome, and the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., and edited the catalogue published by Hatje Cantz. Recent exhibitions include: Cy Twombly, Photographer (2015), Charles Ray, Mountain Lion Attacking a Dog (2017), and Yto Barrada, The Dye Garden (2018). He is currently preparing an exhibition entitled Paolo Gioli, Anthropolaroid, which will open in October at the American Academy in Rome. The author of numerous catalogue essays, he is the editor of Go Figure! New Perspectives on Guston (2015), published by New York Review Books.


Monday · September 3rd, 2018
Welcome Cocktail at 6:00 PM
Presentation at 6:15 PM

Please RSVP to news@civitella.org or by phone to 075.782.5228

Tania Leon

Advisory Council member Tania Leon (CRF 2003) named curator of National Sawdust in Brooklyn in the 2018-2019 season.

"From her time serving as as a founding member and inaugural musical director of Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem to her position advising Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic, this composer, conductor and artistic advisor continuously defies notions of race and gender through her work. She brings this defiant spirit to her curation at National Sawdust, where she will present a concert of music written entirely by Latina women, serve as a judge for the Hildegard Competition for female and nonbinary composers, and showcasing her own iconic compositions in an evening honoring her work."


Sun Xun Richard Koh Fine Art

Richard Koh Fine Art in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia presents a selection of work by Chinese artist Sun Xun (CRF 2012). The show featuring watercolor drawings and stop-motion animation films runs through August 14 229, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Xun is counted among China’s most talented rising young artists and the works on view clearly reflect his artistic practice. It is a combination of meticulous craftsmanship in traditional artistic expression and forward thinking. “Sun works adeptly across diverse mediums to provide an immersive installation punctuated with exuberant new energy for when reality and fantasy collide,” the gallery writes. “One who’s intrinsic motivation is to expand the potentials of his choice medium, Sun masterly weaves traditional visual formats of drawing, painting, and woodcut into sequences of digital stop-motion animation.” This is the first solo exhibition in Malaysia by the artist.

Carman Moore's MADIBA
SummerStage NY

The Black Iris Project will celebrate the centennial of Nelson Mandela’s birth (July 18, 1918) in New York City with a special free performance of MADIBA this summer. The ballet’s original classical score, written by composer Carman Moore (CRF 2010). 

MADIBA elevates Black men and women by featuring Black artists in various outstanding artistic capacities. Presented by City Parks Foundation's SummerStage, the one-night-only performance will take place on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at the Richard Rogers Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park. 

Kanishka Raja Celebration
October 7th, 2018

A celebration of Kanishka Raja on October 7th.

"Please RSVP to postwestraja@gmail.com so we know how many people to expect. We'll have Kanishka's favorite things: great food, great drinks, great music and great people. If you're inclined, start looking for those fantastic pictures and start writing those hilarious stories about Kanishka."


Pioneer Works
159 Pioneer St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
8pm onwards

Gary Shteyngart Book Tour

Hear Gary Shteyngart (CRF 2009) speak on his book "Lake Success" all across the USA in September.


“Lake Success is Gary Shteyngart, so you already know it’s the funniest book you’ll read all year. But the surprise here is the novel’s epic sweep, its melancholy resonance. What begins as a rollicking and zinger-filled road trip sneakily deepens into a poignant tale of a man trying to outrace his problems. I was utterly floored by Shteyngart’s staggeringly beautiful denouement.”—Maria Semple

Tuesday, September 4 – New York, NY
Barnes & Noble Union Square
Location: B&N Union Square, 33 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003


Wednesday, September 5 – New York, NY
7:30pm – 9:00pm
Greenlight Bookstore
In conversation with Angela Ledgerwood
Location: St. Joseph’s College | 245 Clinton Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

Group 3 Short Presentations
Group 3, 2018

The 2018 Group 3 Fellows and Director's Guests will introduce themselves and their work at the Castle on Tuesday, August 14th at 6pm.

Presenting will be:

A. Igoni Barrett, (Writing, Nigeria)
Vince Briffa, (Visual Art, Malta)
Dan Chaon, (Writing, USA)
Alexander Hawkins, (Music, UK)
Jessica Helfand, Director’s Guest (Visual Art, USA)
Fusun Koksal, (Music, Turkey)
Azar Nafisi, (Writing, Iran)
Celeste Oram, (Music, New Zealand)
Paulo Nimer Pjota (Visual Art, Brazil)
Siska, (Visual Art, Lebanon)
Esperanza Spalding, (Music, USA)
Emily Van Kley, Lexi Rudnitsky Fellow (Writing, USA)
Christian Vinck, (Visual Art, Venezuela)
Deb Willis, Director’s Guest  (Visual Art, USA)


Tuesday, August 14th 2018
Welcome cocktail at 6:00pm
Presentations begin at 6:15pm


To RSVP, email news@civitella.org or call 075.782.5228.

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

The Music of Eve Belgarian
Mass MoCA

New York composer and producer Eve Beglarian (CRF 2006) to play pieces that have their roots in literature at the MASS MoCA.

Her piece The Marriage of Heaven and Hell comes from her reading of William Blake, her piece Waiting for Billy Floyd comes from reading Eudora Welty.


Tuesday, July 24th, 4:30pm. 

Free with gallery admission. 

Heat Brain
Derek Eller Gallery

Derek Eller Gallery is pleased to present Heat Brain, the gallery’s 21st summer exhibition including recent work by Civitellians John Newman (DG 2014) and Michelle Segre (CRF 2016), among others.

In these long midsummer days, our elevated body temperatures begin to have a physiological effect on our minds’ perception. In this exhibition, the viewers’ fevered confusion is complimented by works of varied processes and materials ranging from the glazed ceramics of Cherubini to dried, painted mushrooms of Segre. In the works by Fuller, Linde Busk and Shaver human forms collapse into puddles of melted figuration. Berryhill, Gunderson, and Dupuis present familiar images warped, disconnected and teetering on the line of abstraction while Hughes, Newman and Shotz conjure optical illusions like mirages across the hot asphalt of a highway stretching out into the distance.  

July 12-August 14

Music for the Eyes
Siena, Italy

"Music for the Eyes," an exhibition running from August 10th to November 14th at the Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, features Civitellian Robert Boyd (CRF 2010) is a featured visual artist in the "visual-sound exhibition" component of the three-part show. Boyd will be showing his  “Xanadu” installation (pictured). 

Music for the Eyes is an innovative project that investigates, through video installations and video clips, the contamination between video art and pop music.

The "visual-sound exhibition" intends to analyze the state of fertile contamination that not only leads artists to experiment with video clips, but above all as video clips and pop music offer unpublished creative videos to the video artists. The second section presents a wide selection of video clips made by famous film directors. The third section presents fourteen video clips made by some of the most significant and subversive contemporary artists. 


Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

10 August-4 November

Full ticket: € 9.00

Reduced ticket: € 7.00

M, T, W, F, Sat, Sun: 10.00 am - 7.00 pm
Th: 10.00 - 22.00

infoscala@comune.siena.it ; sienasms@operalaboratori.com

Kanishka Raja
In Memoriam

Dear friends,


We must share the sad news that at 6:15 am yesterday, Civitellian Kanishka Raja passed away peacefully in his sleep in the company of his parents and two cousins.


Kanishka Raja was a painter working across media, at the intersection of representation, craft, ornament and multiple textile and printing technologies. In interconnected bodies of work that consider the visual politics of neutral and contested territories and reflect the multivalent, multilayered hybridity of post colonial urban spaces, Raja’s paintings and their woven, scanned, printed, embroidered and reproduced counterparts interlock in complex visual fields charged with colliding realms of the foreign and the familiar.

The artist was born in Calcutta and lived and worked in New York and Kolkata. As per his wishes, In two months time, there will be a celebration of his life in New York.


In New York, Kanishka’s work is on view in the current group show at Experimenter/Bridget Donahue (https://www.bridgetdonahue.nyc/exhibitions/condo-new-york-experimenter-bridget-donahue/).

In Kolkata, his work will be in an exhibition at Experimenter in August.


His work will live on forever, and that is his gift to us. He was a great artist, friend, and loved-one. Join us in saying goodbye to a friend and comrade, across the two Bengals. 

Jerome Kitzke

Jerome Kitzke (CRF 2003, DG 2017) returns to Tribeca New Music's concert series with an evening of his Complete Works for Amplified Speaking Pianist (1994-2009) along with the world premiere of A Lament and Cry for These United States, for oboe/English horn/drum/vocals and piano/drum/vocals.

Sarah Cahill, Anthony de Mare, Lisa Moore, and Kathleen Supové will be joined by oboist Keve Wilson and Mr. Kitzke himself on piano and toy piano.

Friday, October 5, 2018
7:00 PM 9:00 PM
DiMenna Center - Cary Hall
450 West 37th Street New York, NY, 10018 United States

William Kentridge - The Head and The Load
World Premiere

Tate Modern joins forces with 14–18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, to commemorate the significant contribution of African men and women in this conflict. 

The world premiere of this major new work is performed against the dramatic backdrop of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. William Kentridge (CRF 1996)'s latest project combines music, dance, film projections, mechanised sculptures and shadow play to create an imaginative landscape on an epic scale. It tells the untold story of the hundreds of thousands of African porters and carriers who served in British, French and German forces during the First World War.


Turbine Hall

London SE1 9TG


11 JULY 2018 AT 19.00–20.10
12 JULY 2018 AT 19.00–20.10
13 JULY 2018 AT 20.00–21.10
14 JULY 2018 AT 16.00–17.10 AND 20.00–21.10
15 JULY 2018 AT 13.00–14.10 AND 16.00–17.10

Shahpour Pouyan in the 5th edition of Jaou Tunis
Kamel Lazaar Foundation

The Secret History of the Carthaginian War Elephant is the first collaborative installation and ongoing project that Shahpour Pouyan (CRF 2016) has with the novelist Anelise Chen. This new body of work creates a direct dialogue between fiction and sculpture, an attempt to examine the enigmatic within a historical context. 

Using research about elephants, military history, and Hannibal, they synthesize a dream-history through which the elephant becomes a proxy for exploring the dynamics of power. By telling this dream-history through the institutional mode of archaeological curation, Pouyan and Chen also call attention to the ways in which historical narratives are always fictions of a kind. Institutional memory is often influenced by political agendas, which we see manifesting in myriad ways in the current moment.


This installation is currently on view in the 5th edition of Jaou Tunis, a group exhibition organized by Kamel Lazaar Foundation in Tunis.

Du Yun Honored by Carnegie Corporation of New York
New York, NY

Carnegie Corporation of New York released its annual list of Great Immigrants on June 28 comprised of 38 naturalized citizens who enrich the fabric of American culture and strengthen our democracy through their lives, their work, and their example, and new Civitella Ranieri Board Member Du Yun (CRF 2015) is honored as one of them. 

Every Fourth of July since 2006, the Corporation has sponsored the public awareness initiative to commemorate the legacy of the founder, Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie, who believed strongly in both immigration and citizenship. Today the Great Immigrants tribute is an archive of accomplishment featuring more than 500 exemplary naturalized U.S. citizens. For 2018, the honorees represent nearly 30 different countries of origin, a range of personal immigration experiences, and high-level leadership in numerous fields, all of them united through their experience of becoming Americans.

Writing as Drag: Alexander Chee's Essays
Times Book Review

Alexander Chee (CRF 2011)'s "How to Write an Autobiographical Novel" is, according to the Times, "a disarming title for an essay collection by Alexander Chee, given that he’s fresh from the success of a novel that on the face of it was anything but autobiographical." However, for Chee, the writer's life always lurks just beyond the page. 

The Times book review compares Chee's detailed description in his essay "Girl" of his first time in drag, to Chee's life and this book. That experience for Chee "allowed him to collapse his identities as a gay man, a Korean-American and a New England transplant into a pleasing totality," which then propelled his work. 


The Times states that "If writing, too, is a form of drag for Chee, it is also an act of mystic invocation and transference." Chee's essays [are] generous; these pieces are personal, never pedagogical. They bespeak an unguarded sincerity and curiosity."


“We are not what we think we are,” [Chee] writes. “The stories we tell of ourselves are like thin trails across something that is more like the ocean. A mask afloat on the open sea.”

Eliza Griswold's New Book

"Her sensitive and judicious new book... is neither an outraged sermon delivered from a populist soapbox nor a pinched, professorial lecture."

Eliza Griswold (CRF 2011)'s new book is entitled "Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America". Griswold, a journalist and a poet, paid close attention to a community in southwestern Pennsylvania over the course of seven years to convey its confounding experience with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process that injects water and chemicals deep into the ground in order to shake loose deposits of natural gas.

John Roberts
In Memory of John Roberts

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Chairman Emeritus of Civitella Ranieri, John Roberts. John died on June 8 after a short intense battle against cancer.


John Roberts served Civitella since its inception as both a Board Director and then as Board Chairman. His love for the Castle, for Italy, and his immense regard and respect for our Founder, Ursula Corning, were constantly apparent in every action he took on behalf of the Foundation.


His frequent visits to the Castle were always welcome and he especially loved meeting the Fellows and hearing how valid their time at Civitella was. “He always asked about the Fellows,” Executive Director, Dana Prescott, said. “He was curious about their work, their lives, and how we might better serve them. He was my first Board Chairman and it was he, really, who trained me and worked closely with me to both respect the past of the Foundation and plan solidly for its future. John was gracious, diplomatic, and well versed in the laws of Italy and the United States. In my 12 years as Director, John missed a grand total of two Board meetings, further testament to how seriously he held his responsibilities as Chair and Board Director. We will miss him profoundly in the coming years.”

John Newman's Lithographs
New Work

John Newman (DG 2014) recently visited Shark's to make four prints: Head First, Second Head First, A small monument to Heliotropism (above) and Looking through to 'Light and lace-maker' (below). These prints are both specific in formal design and yet elicit a wide spectrum of responses - they ask to be interrogated, mediated upon, and, marveled at.

Newman's drawings and prints compress the role of drawing and sculpture. He depicts illusionistic spaces and forms that defy physical laws, like Piranesi's visionary architecture.  

"Urban Inventory" and "Alone at the Vanguard"
The New Yorker Recommends

In an article in the New Yorker, Civitellians Wang Lu (CRF 2016) and Fred Hersch (DG 2013) 's new songs are recommended to listeners.

From the article:

On Lu: "I’ve listened at least a dozen times to the composer Wang Lu’s new album, “Urban Inventory” (New Focus Recordings), and remain happily lost in its riotous maze of ideas and images. Every moment is vividly etched, drenched in instrumental color, steeped in influences that range from ancient Chinese folk music to the latest detonations of the European avant-garde. A starry array of ensembles, including the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Alarm Will Sound, and the International Contemporary Ensemble, bring the music to rambunctious life. The flow of events is so rapid and so variegated that nothing settles into the groove of the familiar."


On Hersch: "Sessions at the Village Vanguard have always made for my favorite recordings, and the album seemed like one of the more private conversations a listener could have with Hersch. There’s no accompaniment; it’s just him, live, playing a smattering of classics and original compositions."

Lost in Space (After Huck) at the Jack Shainman Gallery/The School
Kinderhook, NY

Shimon Attie (CRF 2010) has re-mounted an immersive multi-media installation, now at Jack Shainman Gallery/The School in Kinderhook, NY.

"Lost in Space" opens this coming Sunday, May 20, and runs through October 6. The gallery will be providing 2-way transportation from New York City this Sunday for the opening, but seats must be reserved in advance.

The artwork, Lost in Space (After Huck) combines cast resin sculpture w/a multi-channel video and sound environment to create an immersive Installation. For Lost in Space, Attie drew inspiration from the St. Louis Art Museum’s proximity both to the Mississippi River and to Ferguson, MO.  The artwork conflates Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn – in part an allegory on 19th century American race relations- with present-day first responder/community relations.

Amy Ellingson at Robischon Gallery
Denver, CO

Robischon Gallery will present "Sweetbitter Beast," by Amy Ellingson (CRF 2007). The opening reception of the solo exhibition will take place May 17th, 6-8pm, in Denver, CO. The show will run through July 14th.

"Sweetbitter Beast" includes four new paintings, a sculptural installation and a suite of four prints. 


From Amy: "I am pleased to announce my recent print project, published by Magnolia Editions. I thoroughly enjoyed this collaboration with the Master Printers at Magnolia, which allowed me to explore the complex layering potential of printmaking. Identical/Variation (green, red, blue, black) is a suite of four prints, each comprising an etching in black ink, printed at Magnolia from a plate created on Magnolia’s flatbed printer; elements of vibrant acrylic color; and a relief woodcut, printed in four different colors in variable orientation. Like the Identical/Variation theme that I have revisited over the years in my paintings, Identical/Variation (green, red, blue, black) employs a variable matrix that allows for the possibility of originality within the parameters of repetition."

Housebooks Venezia
Venezia, Italia

Opening Night: Thursday, May 24th. 6:30- 8:30 pm

May 25th-Sept. 30th:
Mon: 3 pm – 7 pm
Tue → Fri: 10 am – 1 pm | 3 pm – 7 pm Free entry

bruno dorsoduro 2729 30123 Venezia — Italia

Cristian Chironi (DG 2012) crosses the space at bruno with a selection of artworks that create a dialogue with architects Pierre Jeanneret, Tadao Ando, Le Corbusier and their works.

Exhibited in Italy for the first time and created between 2016 and 2017 while resident in homes designed by each of the architects’, these artworks position reinterpreted books in a brand-new space-time dimension. Pages act as architectural elements and are associated to other materials.


Housebooks is a project of the artist in collaboration with bruno. Throughout its duration meetings will be organized in the presence of the artist using video and speaking interventions related to the architectures covered in the exhibition in order to indirectly reactivate the spaces treated in the pages and create a dialogue with art and architecture.The presence of the artist will be an opportunity for an artist publication designed and published by bruno. 

Daniel Zeller at Pierogi
New York, New York

“Recent Drawings” by Daniel Zeller (CRF, 2007)

12 May—24 June, 2018

Book release event at PIEROGI in conjunction with Zeller's current exhibition:
Tuesday, June 19th.  6–8pm

A one-person exhibition of recent works on paper by Daniel Zeller. In this new body of work Zeller continues to develop and expand upon his invented topo-cellular cartographic universe, utilizing the modest media of pencil, ink, and paper. The new drawings could all be part of the same world, each referencing different possible regions of that world. They seem to draw from one another—as Zeller continues to develop a language of marks and shapes—to create new terrains, new organisms. These drawings exhibit Zeller’s characteristic push/pull between macro and micro worlds, referencing biological, topographical, stratographic, astronomical, and other imagery that he has absorbed like a science nerd and reimagined to create entirely new forms. He blurs the boundaries between invention and reality with his convincing terrains, and tests even further by, in some instances, referencing actual places or entities.

How Fiction Helped Alexander Chee Face Reality
The New Yorker

New Yorker article about Civitellian writer Alexander Chee (CRF 2011). He talks about his life experiences and how the process of writing has helped him face is own realities and thus become more in tune with his authentic self. 

An excerpt reads: "'Sometimes you don’t know who you are until you put on a mask,' Chee writes. Each [excursion] into a kind of lived fiction allowed Chee to confront and accept something he had, at least in part, rejected about himself: his mixed heritage, his queerness...'The things I saw in my life, learned things, didn’t fit back into the boxes of my life,' Chee writes. But they did fit into a novel. Through fiction, Chee was able to bring himself back to the real world." 

New Trio CD: Live in Europe

New album realease, "Live in Europe" by Fred Hersch (DG 2013) and longtime associates, bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson.  

Consisting of six Hersch originals and two significant compositions apiece from Thelonious Monk ("We See," "Blue Monk") and Wayne Shorter ("Miyako," "Black Nile"), Live in Europe demonstrates how a working trio breathes as one.

Yun-Fei Ji Rumors, Ridicules and Retributions
James Cohan Gallery, Lower East Side

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 through Sunday, June 17. 

This is Ji’s fourth solo exhibition at James Cohan. In this body of work, Yun-Fei Ji turns his attention to the stories of people living in rural China. The realities of life outside the nation’s largest cities have largely been ignored by narratives of rapid urban growth. Rural lives are often governed by the whims of the powerful, robbing them of physical and spiritual rootedness. Ji is interested in the ways in which people enact their agency both individually and collectively in the face of these larger societal forces, often through subtle but willful acts of resistance.

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.


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 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 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.


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 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 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 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 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.