Magrelli, Valerio 1957–

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Magrelli, Valerio 1957–


Born January 10, 1957, in Rome, Italy; son of Giancinto (an engineer) and Giuliana (a physician) Magrelli; married Maria Letizia Vallo (a lawyer), June 16, 1988; children: Leonardo, Irene. Ethnicity: "Italian." Education: Attended Université de Paris III, 1975-76, and Universitá di Roma, 1977-82.


Home—Rome, Italy. Agent—A.L.I., Via Fratelli Gabba 3, 20121 Milan, Italy. E-mail—[email protected]


University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy, professor of French literature, 1990-2000; University of Cassino, Cassino, Italy, professor of French literature, 2000—. Director of the poetry collection Guanda, 1987-97; director of the collection "Trilingue" Einaudi, 1993-99.


Mondello, 1980; Salzburg Prize, 1986; Viareggio, 1987; and Montale, 1992; award from Accademia dei Lincei, 2002.



Ora serrata retinae, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 1980.

Nature e venature, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1987.

Nearsights: Selected Poems, translated by Anthony Molino, Graywolf Press (St. Paul, MN), 1991.

Esercizi di tiptologia, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1992, translation by Anthony Molino published as The Contagion of Matter, Holmes & Meier (New York, NY), 2000.

Didascalie per la lettura di un giornale, Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1999.

Disturbi del sistema binario, [Turin, Italy], 2006.

Sopralluoghi, with compact disc, [Rome, Italy], 2006.


Profila del Dada (essays), Lucarini (Rome, Italy), 1990.

La casa del pensiero: Introduzione all'opera di Joseph Joubert (essays), Pacini (Pisa, Italy), 1995.

Vedersi vedersi: Modelli e circuiti visivi nell'opera di Paul Valéry (essays), Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 2002.

Nel condominio di carne (novel), [Turin, Italy], 2002.

Il lettore ferito: Conque percorsi critici (essays), [Rome, Italy], 2005.

Che cos'è la poesia? La poesie reccontata ai ragazzi in ventuno voci (essays), with compact disc, [Rome, Italy], 2005.

Contributor to books, including Elisabetta Catalano: Le fotografie, Edizioni Fondazione Torino (Turin, Italy), 2005.


When CA asked Valerio Magrelli about his primary motivation for writing, the author responded: "I once answered the same question on a questionnaire claiming, ‘To discover why I write.’ Someone else answered the same question by saying: ‘So as not to discover why I write.’ Today, both hypotheses seem to miss the mark. In all honesty, I don't know why I write; or better (and this is the only way for me to approximate an answer), I think the reason becomes clear only while I'm actually writing.

"It's the same impression one has when gliding," Magrelli continued; "it's what intervenes between swimmer and wave, between an object and the force that moves it. Whoever writes is never alone. That is to say, I am convinced that writing ‘produces and reveals’ a push that is not its own. And it is to experience that push that one writes; it is to perceive this ‘other,’ invisible energy, that permeates us and becomes manifest only in the solitary performance of putting pen to paper."

When asked about his influences, Magrelli responded: "My own personal seismograph oscillated most recently in response to the work of the Polish writer Bruno Schulz. Before him, I recall the power of my encounter with Michaux, and with the poems, prose, and essays of Mandel'stam. In Italy, Bruno Barilli, Vittorio Imbriani, and the ‘Cronica dell'anonimo romano’ have all affected me. In short, it is reading of an irregular sort, in which the occasion of a discovery amplifies the pleasure, or the ‘radiance,’ of a text. Among contemporary American authors I follow the work of Muldoon, Simic, Pynchon, and DeLillo."

When asked to describe his writing process, Magrelli wrote: "One ought never to describe so intimate an act as hatching an egg." And in response to the question: "What inspired you to write on the subjects you have chosen?" Magrelli wrote: "As with love, we should not limit ourselves to choosing, but we should look to being chosen as well. Or, at least, to choose that which has chosen us."