Category: Writers

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” — Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison. Photo Credits: Athena LeTrelle

In April of 1952, Ralph Ellison, an African American writer, highlighted numerous social and intellectual issues regarding black identities, black nationalism and racial policies that have been existing in the American society with the publishing of his iconic book Invisible Man. In April 2017, 65 years later, we are going to reflect on these issues again by re evaluating the book onto the unsolved problems proposed there. Read more

‘Punk Poet’ Eileen Myles launches ‘Picturing Women: Constructions of Gender in the Acton Collection and Contemporary Society’ next week with her poetry talk ‘Born to Describe’

Eileen Myles photo (1)
Photo by: Peggy O’Brian

“Social media is very fragmentary, so I think that we write a line of poetry or a tweet very similarly. Those of us who love poetry can find social media to be really easy and really attractive and an interesting way to lean into a poem over time. You can kind of leak a line, and then another, and then they can all come together or just give you the pleasure of writing lines publicly. It’s exposing a lot of people – both poets and those who aren’t – to a kind of ‘knowing fragmentation’ and that’s pretty cool.”

-Eileen Myles, Profile: Eileen Myles, Wonderland., August 4, 2016 link

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Writer Jennifer Clement at La Pietra for a Writing Workshop and Dialogue

Award-wining writer Jennifer Clement will be on campus this week to offer a writing workshop to NYU Florence students and to participate in a Dialogue about her work. Clement’s highly acclaimed novels Widow Basquiat, about the life and artistry of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Prayers for the Stolen, which explores the experience of girls who are victims of human trafficking by Mexican drug cartels, are available in the Ulivi Library and the LPD student space for students.

Clement is currently working on a book titled Gun Love, which will examine gun culture in the United States and the traffic in guns between the U.S. and Mexico.

Clement is the president of PEN International, the main organization of Poets, Essayists and Novelists, the first woman elected to the position. She is also an alumni of NYU.

Check out an article written by LPD alumni (Fall ’14) Joshua St. Clair about Clement’s 2014 Dialogue at NYU Florence “So Far From God”, Dina Juan (LPD 2014-2015)’s piece “A Freshman’s Take on the Dialogue with Jennifer Clement” and watch the video of her talk Walking in the Bones of Shadows: The Experience of Writing Prayers for the Stolen.

Join Jennifer Clement for her Writing Workshop tomorrow Tuesday, October 11 at 12pm in Villa Sassetti and for her Dialogue on Thursday, October 13 at 6pm in Villa Sassetti. Rsvp at


I was in third grade the first time I can remember being dehumanized. I was standing with two boys my age on the green hardtop of the tennis court at my local athletic center. Being there was my attempt to dispel the notion among my classmates that I was un-athletic, a pervasive opinion that had made me feel like an outsider. It must have been two weeks into camp and I found two boys, Barrett and Nathaniel, who liked Star Wars, so I hung around them during the time when we weren’t slamming green fuzzy Dunlop balls over nets repeatedly. The conversation made its way to playdate potential. Read more

Global Literature and Poetry: Looking Towards Technology as a Way to Represent the #Contemporary

This Spring NYU Florence GLS Junior Madison McCormick organized a dialogue on Global Literature and Poetry: Looking Towards Technology as a Way to Represent the #Contemporary, bringing Italian writers Alessandro Raveggi and Vanni Santoni and Bellevue Park Pages co-founders Will Cox and James Bird together to talk about the impact of technology on their practice and the diffusion of their work (and the work of others) to a wider public.

In the below interview, Madison talks about how she came up with the idea to organize her dialogue (and how much research she had to do!), the differences between the contemporary cultural scenes in Florence (Paris, London) and New York, and what is unique about contemporary culture in Florence.

Discover more about contemporary Florence on LPD’s Mapping Contemporary Florence blog.

Black Italia Dialogues Speaker: Maaza Mengiste, Ethiopian-American writer

220px-Mengiste_Maaza_094.jpgNovelist Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she lived until her family fled during the communist revolution when she was four years old. This early period of her life provided inspiration for her upcoming novel, The Shadow King. After fleeing Ethiopia, Mengiste lived in Nigeria and Kenya before she eventually moved to the United States. Mengiste graduated with an MFA in creative writing from New York University.  She went on to become a professor at NYU, Queens College and Princeton University. Read more