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Piergiorgio Viti lives in Italy, where he is a middle school teacher. His poems are translated into Spanish (Jorge Aulicino and Antonio Nazzaro for Centro Culturale Tina Modotti in Caracas), Greek (Stavros Girgenis) and Romanian (Geo Vasile and George Nina Elian). In 2011 he published the first poetic collection, “Accorgimenti”, while in 2015, for Italic publishing house, “Se le cose stanno così” was released.  He also wrote for the theater : “The fable of Virginio and Virgilio”, with famous singer Tosca as protagonist and “Ray’s dreams” (dedicated to Ray Charles) with an important actor as Carlo Di Maio. He went on stage in the theater as author and acting voice for “The voice of man”, a tribute to the songwriter Sergio Endrigo. He also translated “The Preludes” by Alphonse de Lamartine with a reading by Ugo Pagliai and Paola Gassmann for “Armonie della Sera” festival. In 2016 he was part, together with other poets and writers, of the photographic-editorial project “Memory Card” (Hacca Edizioni), created by the photographer Rita Vitali Rosati. In 2019, for Pequod publishing house, he published “Aperto per inventario”, the third poetic book, which is also presented at the Salone del Libro (Turin Book Fair), with the cover by Ilario Fioravanti.  In 2020, he was the only Italian to participate in the international project “Infusions poétiques” by the artist Cécile A. Holdban, with 173 other poets from around the world.  Viti’s texts are also present and reviewed in blogs, literary sites and magazines (La Lettura, Atelier, Poesia, Zeusi, Segn, Poetarum Silva, Italian Poetry Center, Rai news etc.). He collaborates with  Poesia and Atelier magazines and he is the creator of Versus, a festival of poetic comparisons held in Recanati, which was attended by poets of national and international fame. Viti’s fourth poetic book is about to be published. In this Interview with Eleftheria Thanoglu, which was originally published by Grafeion Poiisis and Culturebook.gr, Piergiorgio shares his views on poetry and art.

1) Suppose you are face to face with yourself when you were a child and you have to introduce it to others. What would you say? Has something changed since then? 

P : This is Piergiorgio, the child who loves poetry, comics, Sampdoria football team and parmigiana di melanzane (a typical Italian dish). He speaks little and is afraid of the washing machine’s spin. 

No, not much has changed since then. Maybe I have fewer passions and more fears… 

2) How do you listen your poetic voice when you read some verses of yours? 

P : It is difficult to read your own texts. When you look for the right diction, the correct pronunciation of the words, the emotion, the experience that led you to write, seem to vanish. Conversely, when you let yourself go to the memory, you are always afraid of mumbling the words as if you had a chewing gum in your mouth. 

3) Which poet has influenced you the most? 

P : Many poets have influenced me and very different from each other. I mention three: Amelia Rosselli, who opened the doors to the poetry of the twentieth century, Raffello Baldini, dialect poet, probably the one closest to my chords, and Raymond Carver, because it made me understand how, even in poetry, a narrative dimension is possible, a dimension that Italian poets often lack. 

4) Poetry is unfair to the poet because it cannot nourish him. How do you face life, professionally speaking? 

P : Well, I did several jobs: tour guide, waiter, museum guide, promoter in shopping centers. Then, after university, I became a professor of Italian, history and geo at middle school and this is currently my job for 15 years. I wouldn’t mind living only with poetry, but after all, without school, without real life, perhaps my poetry would sound empty, false. The constraint of having to get up early and being, in some way, productive, reminds me of the beauty and gratuitousness of art. 

5) How do the stories you write about visit you? 

P : Normally I write early in the morning. Writing is my breakfast. The morning is the ideal time for reckoning with my past, with my present, with who I am, with whom I have been, with whom I have disappointed, with whom I have loved, etc. 

6) Where does your art differ from other poets’ art? 

P : Alessandro Ceni, who is a great Italian poet I admire, spoke of authenticity about my texts. I think it’s the right word. I don’t like frills, crochet, lace, but I go by sword, by foil. Poetry is a punch in the stomach, not a caress, I tell myself while I’m writing, trying to avoid rhetoric. 

Perhaps this is the authenticity that distinguishes me, going as far as possible from the comfort zone, trying to be ironic, because the highest form of brutality is irony. 

7) The fields of poetry and literature become often objects of dispute. How do you experience it? 

P : I don’t care. I set myself the goal of collaborating with those I respect and with those who respect me, the rest does not concern me. 

8)  Poetry is characterized of duration and a long route. How have you planned your own poetic route? 

P : The only things I plan are bill payments, where I have to be quite precise. I don’t plan anything. “Nothing is sure, but write” Franco Fortini wrote in a beautiful text. The same goes for me. 

9) In the future, where do you think you would find the portrait that you have been making? 

P : I will find this portrait translated in some specialized poetry magazine in Cambodia or South Africa, because also in Cambodia and South Africa I will be known as the poet who cheers for Sampdoria and loves parmigiana di melanzane. 

10) How do you define the poem that is durable in time? 

P : The poetry that lasts over time is the poetry that, after reading it, makes you look at the world in a different way, with different eyes. It is poetry that changes your perception of reality and sometimes turns it upside down. 

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Original Credits :

Selection of poets for interviews by Sotirios Pastakas, a prominent Greek ; Preparation of Interview Script by Eleftheria Thanoglu, poet and journalist; and publication by Anthonis D. Skiathas, editor of the column for Grafeion Poiisis and Culturebook.gr

SOTIRIOS PASTAKAS – BIOGRAPHY 

Sotirios Pastakas was born in 1954 in Larissa, wherever he returned in 2013. He studied medicine in Rome and Psychiatry at Athens (Mental State Psychiatric Clinic). For thirty years he worked as a Psychiatrist in Athens. He published seventeen collections of poetry, a theatrical monologue, a book of essays and translations of Italian poets. In 2001 he co-founded the World Poetry Academy in the city of Verona, and in September of the same year received a scholarship from Hawthornden Castle, International Retreat for writers, near Edinburgh.  

He read poems in various International Poetic Festival (Sarajevo 2006 and 2011, San Francisco 2007, Rome 2010, Izmir 2012, Cairo 2013, Istanbul 2014, etc.) is a member of the Greek Writers Society from 1994 and has set up various print and electronic journals. Beyond editor but is a radio producer and teacher experiential writing. He has been translated into fifteen languages and the “Trilogy” book (ed. Presence, 2012) was released in the US in 2015, entitled “Food Line”, translated by Jack Hirschman and Angelos Sakis. His first book of short stories “Dr Ψ and his patients,” released in 2015 by publishing Ink. In December 2015 he was awarded the Annibale Ruccello Award for Poetry in the Third Festival of Teatro Stabia.  

On February 5, 2016 was declared the winner in the competition Ritratti di Poesia.140 (poesia tweet), the Fondazione Roma. In the spring of 2016 released a personal anthology of poems (1986-2016) in Italian “corpo a corpo” from Multimedia publications “Casa della Poesia”, that win the NordSud International Prize for Poetry/Pescarabbruzzo foundation in 2016. Others books publishing in Italy: Jorge, i Quaderni del Bardo Edizioni (2018), Monte Egaleo (art book), designer Marco Vecchio, Multimedia (2019). 

ELEFTERIA THANOGLU – BIOGRAPHY 

Eleftheria Thanoglou lives in Thessaloniki. Shehas published two poetic books. Poems of her have been included in Greek and international anthologies. She has written theatrical monologues for musical performances. Her poems have been translated in four languages. 

ANTHONIS D. SKIATAS – BIOGRAPHY 

Antonis D. Skiathas was born in Athens in 1960 and nowadays he lives in Patra. He studied Chemical Engineering with postgraduate studies in Art Restoration. He is a poet, anthologist of poems and literary critic. Antonis Skiathas has published 12 poetic books. Poems of him have been included in Greek and international anthologies, and have been translated into 15 languages. His articles and essays on poetry and history have been published in journals and newspapers. He is a member of the Greek Society of Writers and the Poets’ Circle. He was co–director of the literary journal Ελί–τροχος during the ’90s. He founded and is the administrator of the cultural action “Grafeíon Poiíseos”, Poetry Awards “Jean Moreas”, https://www.culturebook.gr/  and he is president of Greek Library of London. 

In 2020 he was selected depart med of culture in the European Union EUNIC, in order to represent Greece as a poet in the UK. He teaches poetry in the postgraduate program “Creative Writing” ( University of Western Macedonia – Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), he also teached poetry in the postgraduate program “Creative Writing” ( University of Western Macedonia – Open University of Greece).