Freni, Melo 1934–

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Freni, Melo 1934–

(Carmelo Freni)

PERSONAL: Born Carmelo Freni, July 19, 1934, in Barcellona, Sicily, Italy; son of Nunzio (a pastry cook) and Blanda Rizzo (d'Amico) Freni; married Franca Giordano (an elementary school teacher), 1961; children: Blanda. Education: University of Palermo, law degree, 1957. Politics: "Area centro." Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Mountain excursions.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Passigli Editori, via Chiantigiana 62, 50011, Antella, Italy.

CAREER: Radio correspondent in Rome, Italy, 1958, Sicily, beginning 1960, and Palermo, Italy, 1964–70; RAI (radio and television network), Rome, correspondent, 1958–60, director of cultural programs for TGI television, 1970–95; practicing attorney, beginning 1960. Also director of plays, concerts, and operas, 1968–2002.

AWARDS, HONORS: Premio Pisa, 1984, for Amore e logos; Premio Riviera dei Marmi, for Il senso delle cose; Premio Napoli Selezione, for La famigilia Cervolo; Premio Martoglio-Belpasso, for Marta d'Elicona; Premio Flaiano; Guidarello Ravenna; Chianciano award; Premio Città de Modena; Campidoglio award; Pirandello Maschere Nude; Lion International; Premio Penna d'oro; Sangemini award; Caia Regione Puglia award; Premio Speciale Salvo Randone, for work in the theater.


Odor di pane caldo (poetry; title means "Smell of Warm Bread"), Lucciola (Padova, Italy), 1962.

Sicilia, continente inquieto (nonfiction), Mediterranea-Spes (Milazzo, Italy), 1964.

Il senso delle cose (poetry; title means "The Meaning of Things"), Flaccovio (Palermo, Italy), 1966.

Morire a Palermo (poetry; title means "To Die in Palermo"), Sciascia (Rome, Italy), 1968.

Bidiemme, Ausonia (Palermo, Italy), 1968.

Lu focu e la nivi, Isola d'Oro (Palermo, Italy), 1969.

Viaggio in Grecia (poetry; title means "Voyage to Greece"), Falccovio (Palermo, Italy), 1969.

Sui mimi di Francesco Lanza, U.P.C. (Catania, Italy), 1970.

Dolce terra promessa (poetry; title means "Sweet Promised Land"), Rebellato (Palermo, Italy), 1974.

Le calde stagioni, Marotta (Naples, Italy), 1976.

La famigilia Cervolo (novel), Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1980.

(Author of lyrics) L'isola: per soprano e pianoforte, music by Ruggero Lolini, Edi-Pan (Rome, Italy), 1982.

Amore e logos (poetry; title means "Love and Logos"), Reballato (Venice, Italy), 1983.

Le passioni di Petra (novel), Vallecchi (Florence, Italy), 1985.

Marta d'Elicona (novel), Editori Riuniti (Rome, Italy), 1987.

(And translator) Teocrito: I'ironia dello zufolo (criticism; includes translations of a play and poems by Theocritus), Edizioni del Paniere (Verona, Italy), 1989.

Verso la vacanza: la morte di Sciascia (criticism), Pungitopo (Patti, Italy), 1990.

(With Angelo Pitrone and Gionvanni Speciale) La memoria della passione: Mercoledì, Giovedì e Venerdì Santo a Caltanissetta (nonfiction), Salvatore Sciascia (Rome, Italy), 1991.

Le calde stagioni, Pellicanolibri (Rome, Italy), 1991.

Il giardino de Hamdis (criticism), Sellerio (Palermo, Italy), 1992.

Un amore a Spoleto (novel), Pellicanolibri (Rome, Italy), 1993.

La favola del paese cambiato, S.E.I. Torino (Turin, Italy), 1995.

Dopo l'allegria: poesie 1983–2000, Passigli (Florence, Italy), 2000.

Contributor to books, including La cultura delle regioni, edited by T. di Salvo, G. Zagarrio, and L. Sciascia, 1969; Storia della poesia del dopoguerra, edited by L. Vita, 1971; Granite—A Portfolio of Italian Poetry in Translation, edited by R. Feldman and B. Swann, 1974; Antigruppo 1975, edited by N. Scammacca, 1975; Il mar tra mezzo, edited by L. Melardi and B. Minniti, 1976; Poesia contemporanea italorumena, edited by L. Zinna, 1981; Epeirotkè Ectìa, 1983; Trinacria—Poeti sicilieni contemporani. Antalogie, translated by E. Boeriu, 1984; Vernissage—Poeti italiani inediti nell'Unione Sovietica, edited by E. Solonovic, 1986; Salvatore Quasimodo: la poesia nel mito e oltre, edited by Gilberto Finzi, Laterza (Bari, Italy), 1986; Il pensiero, il corpo. Antologia della poesia italiana, edited by F. Doplicher and L. Piersanti, 1986; Letteratura italiana d'oggi 1965–1985, edited by G. Manacorda, 1987; Narratori siciliani del dopoguerra, edited by M. Leblanc, 1987; Contrappunti per versi. Antologia poetica, edited by B. Costa, 1990; Leggere è bello, edited by A. Gianni and M.G. Gianni, 1990; and Narratori siciliani del secondo dopoguerra, edited by S. Zappulla Muscarà, 1990. Contributor to periodicals, including Fiera Letteraria.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Al limite della ragione; L'impronta delle ombre; Galleria.

SIDELIGHTS: Sicilian poet Melo Freni is also a journalist, novelist, and film and television director. After earning a law degree and working as both an attorney and as a radio correspondent, he won a nationwide competition in 1963 that resulted in his being hired for the television and radio network RAI. In 1970, he was made director of cultural programs for the television channel TGI, a position he held until 1995. But in addition to his long career in broadcasting, Freni is best known for his poetry.

According to Dictionary of Literary Biography contributor Giovanna Wedel de Stasio, "Freni seems to incorporate a tasteful combination of tradition and experimentation in his verse. He also utilizes poetic language to present current issues of cultural or historical relevance, never giving in to sterile abstractionism."

Freni's native Sicily serves as the inspiration for many of his poetry collections, including Odor di pane caldo. Other compilations, such as Viaggio in Grecia and Dolce terra promessa, are tied together by their theme of the traveler searching for his roots and for meaning in foreign lands. Similarly, the award-winning Amore e logos is also about a journey, but one of a very different nature. As de Stasio explained, this is a voyage of "the speaker's real or imagined return to the south and also his tormented penetration into his historical past. He views himself as a timeless poet who enacts a psychoanalytic exploration of a universal conscience."



Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 128: Twentieth-Century Italian Poets, Second Series, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1993, pp. 156-161.


Canadian Journal of Italian Studies, 1988, Giovanna de Stasio, "Viaggio 'In discesa' di Melo Freni," pp. 164-177.