Luigi Fontanella

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Luigi Fontanella (born 1943 Salerno, Italy) is a poet, critic, translator, playwright, and novelist.


He graduated from the Sapienza University of Rome (Laurea in Lettere), and Harvard University (Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures). He has taught at Columbia University, Princeton University, and Wellesley College.[1] He is currently a Professor of Italian at Stony Brook University.[2]

He is the founder of IPA (Italian Poetry in America), and the editor of Gradiva and Gradiva Publications.[3]

He is the president of the International Poetry Prize "Gradiva", established in 2012. In 2014 he was awarded the National Poetry Prize "Frascati" for his literary career.

Fontanella lives on Long Island, NY, and Florence, Italy. He is the author of 15 collections of poetry, 9 books of criticism, and 4 books of narrative. His most recent collections are Land of Time (New York: Chelsea Editions 2006, Edited by Irene Marchegiani, Introduction by Dante Della Terza); L'angelo della neve (Milano: Mondadori, Almanacco dello Specchio, 2009); Bertgang (Bergamo: Moretti & Vitali, 2012, Prata Prize & I Murazzi Prize); Disunita Ombra (Milan: Archinto, RCS, 2013); "L'adolescenza e la notte" (Florence: Passigli, 2015, Pascoli Prize, Viareggio-Giuria Prize); "La morte rosa" (Azzate, Varese: Stampa 2000, 2015).


  • 1976-1978 Fulbright Fellow at Princeton University.
  • 1977 American Collegiate Poets First Prize, Foreign Language Category.
  • 1987 Alfonso Gatto Prize.
  • 1993 Ragusa Prize.
  • 1998 Orazio Caputo Prize.
  • 2000 Prize for Translation by the “Ministero dei Beni Culturali”, Gradiva Publications.
  • 2000 Bordighera Poetry Prize.
  • 2000 Circe Sabaudia Prize
  • 2000 Minturnae Prize
  • 2000 S.Andrea Prize.
  • 2008 Città di Marineo.
  • 2008 Laurentum Prize.
  • 2012 Prata Prize
  • 2012 I Murazzi Prize.
  • 2014 Frascati Career Honor National Prize
  • 2014 Catullo Prize
  • 2015 Pascoli Prize
  • 2015 Viareggio-Giuria Prize


Literary Criticism[edit]


  • La verifica incerta. Roma: De Luca. 1972.
  • La vita trasparente, 1973-1977. Venezia: Rebellato. 1978.
  • Simulazione di reato. Manduria: Lacaita. 1979.
  • Stella Saturnina. Roma: Ed. Il Ventaglio. 1989.
  • Round Trip. Udine: Campanotto. 1991.
  • Ceres. Formia: Caramanica Editore, 1996 ISBN 978-88-86261-36-4.
  • Terra del Tempo. Bologna: Book Editore, 2000 ISBN 978-88-7232-357-1
  • The Transparent Life and Other Poems. Translator Michael Palma. Gradiva Publications. 2000. ISBN 978-1-892021-03-8. 
  • Angels of Youth. Translators: C. Lettieri and I. Marchegiani Jones. Riverside, Calif.: Xenos Books. 2000. ISBN 1-879378-43-4.
  • Azul. Milan: Archinto Ed., 2001. ISBN 978-88-7768-388-5.
  • Land of Time: Selected Poems 1972-2003. Chelsea Editions. 2006. ISBN 978-0-9725271-3-2. 
  • L'azzurra memora. Poesie 1970-2005 Bergamo-Milan: Moretti & Vitali. 2007. Città di Marineo Prize, Laurentum Prize. ISBN 978-88-7186-339-9.
  • Oblivion [Note by Giovanni Raboni]. Milano: Archinto. 2008. ISBN 978-8877685018.
  • Bertgang [Introduction by Giancarlo Pontiggia, Afterword by Carla Stroppa]. Bergamo: Moretti & Vitali, 2012. Prata Prize, I Murazzi Prize. ISBN 978-88-7186-510-2.
  • Disunita Ombra [Introduction by Sebastiano Aglieco, Note by Paolo Lagazzi]. Milan: Archinto, 2013. ISBN 978-88-7768-611-4.
  • L'adolescenza e la notte [Introduction by Paolo Lagazzi]. Florence: Passigli, 2015. Pascoli Prize, Viareggio-Jury Prize. ISBN 978-88-368-1482-4.
  • La morte rosa [Preface by Maurizio Cucchi]. Azzate, Varese: Stampa 2009, 2015. ISBN 978-88-8336-307-8.
  • Lo scialle rosso. Poemetti e racconti in versi, Bergamo: Moretti & Vitali, 2017, ISBN 978-88-7186-684-0.


  • Milestone e altre storie Siena-Rome: Il Messapo. 1983.
  • Hot Dog. Roma: Bulzoni. 1986.  English Translation by Justin Vitiello, Preface by Giose Rimanelli, Lewiston, N.Y.: Ed. Soleil. 1998 ISBN 0-921831-52-8.
  • Controfigura Venezia: Marsilio. 2009. ISBN 978-88-317-9887-7.


...his most recent poetry is like a rare hothouse flower blooming in Fontanella's garden, laid out like a golf course, with surprising bridges between pleasure and reflection which, in the end, enliven both author and readers. Fontanella is essentially the transcriber of unique lyric moments in a poetic corpus that is neither too fertile (abundant) nor too facile (redundant), yet shines with a contemporary relevance that carries it well beyond its cycles of conception and completion. (Giose Rimanelli)[3]

There's great freedom of forms and intonations in Luigi Fontanella's poetry. He doesn't take a strong formal stand; his poetry entertains moments of nearly proselike colloquial narrative along with moments of powerful lyrical tension. There's a movement of extremes, from powerful tonality to near atonality, and I like this a great deal; it's a stance that very effectively catches the spirit that makes work in poetry possible nowadays. (Giovanni Raboni)