Paolo Valesio is a writer, essayist and literary critic.
A native of Bologna, Valesio is the Giuseppe Ungaretti Professor Emeritus of Italian Literature at Columbia University in New York, where he concluded a lengthy academic career that began with studies in Bologna and Harvard and included appointments at New York University and, for a quarter century, Yale University. Since 2013, he has served as president of the Centro Studi Sara Valesio in Bologna. At Yale, Valesio founded and coordinated the “Yale Poetry Group”, a biweekly gathering of readings and conversation about poetry (1993-2003). Valesio is also founder of the journal Yale Italian Poetry -YIP (1997-2005), which he has directed under its new title, "Italian Poetry Review – IPR", since it moved to Columbia University. The journal operates today between New York, Bologna and Florence. Valesio also has a blog dedicated to literature and social trends, is frequent contributor to the online daily www.ilsussidiario.net, and acts as president of the jury of the Piero Alinari International Poetry Prize in Florence.
Valesio has published several volumes of literary and narrative criticism, as well as edited volumes (among them the critical edition, in collaboration with Patrizio Ceccagnoli, of a previously unpublished novel by F.T.Marinetti, Venezianella e Studentaccio—Oscar Mondadori 2013), numerous essays in journals and collected volumes, and various articles in scholarly journals. He has written two novels: L’ospedale di Manhattan (1978) and Il regno doloroso (1983); a collection of short stories, S’incontrano gli amanti (1993), and a novella, Tradimenti (1994); as well as a dramatic poem in nine scenes Figlio dell’Uomo a Corcovado, performed in San Miniato (1993) and Salerno (1997).
In particular, Paolo Valesio has published the following volumes of poetry: Prose in poesia (1979); La rosa verde (1987); Dialogo del falco e dell’avvoltoio (1987); Le isole del lago (1990); La campagna dell’Ottantasette (1990); Analogia del mondo (1992, “Città di San Vito al Tagliamento” prize); Nightchant (1995); Sonetos profanos y sacros (original Italian and Spanish translation, 1996); Avventure dell’Uomo e del Figlio (1996); Anniversari (1999), Piazza delle preghiere massacrate (1999); Premio “DeltaPOesia” – performed in Rome and New York); Dardi (2000); Every Afternoon Can Make the World Stand Still / Ogni meriggio può arrestare il mondo (original Italian and English translation, 2002, second edition 2005 – performed in Forlì and Venezia); Volano in cento (original Italian, Spanish translation and English translation, 2002); Il cuore del girasole (2006; “Colli del Tronto” prize, 2007); Il volto quasi umano (2009); La mezzanotte di Spoleto (2013); and recently, the bilingual anthology Il servo rosso / The Red Servant edited by Graziella Sidoli (original Italian and English translation, 2016). This anthology contains a wide selection of poems from the first nine collections by Valesio, in addition to the complete versions of two subsequent collections, thus covering his first twelve volumes of poetry (though not the three published since).
For some years Paolo Valesio has been at work writing five novel-diaries (or everyday novels), which are parallel but distinct and constitute a narrative tetralogy, made up of approximately twenty-five thousand manuscript pages still in large part unpublished.