Q1: When did you start writing and whom influenced you the most now and currently?
Giulio: I started writing in the early 1970’s. In my days of erratic attendance at Duquesne U. and the University of Pittsburgh, the environment was influenced heavily by the Beats. I tried and failed to replicate their style, and found my own voice through the performance of my work. Now I am continuing to explore the harmonies of my own voice. That should never stop for a writer. I celebrate the work of the writers I meet presently, who exemplify their present. The similarities between the 70’s and today are striking, and depending on your perspective…Disturbing.
Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Giulio: I would say the moments when I performed my work at such venues as the Three Rivers Arts Festival, which has changed its character since the days we read. Also important was my work at drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers using poetry therapy, and a radio show we created using local Pittsburgh poets to read their work. There is no greater reward for me and no greater gift that can be given by an artist of any kind than to enable a sharing of another’s work. Thanks for this opportunity by the way, as you prove my previous point of the importance of sharing.
Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?
Giulio: While I had mentors through University with writing classes, and I was exposed to many fine creators in those days, for me the person who sits at the top of the pyramid is Vincent Zepp. He single-handedly changed the complexion of poetry for local poets in Pittsburgh. He elevated a writer’s world in a city through his Szep Foundation, and was a river to many writers who have gone on to establish enviable bodies of work not only in Pittsburgh, but around the world.
Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?
Giulio: My family established its roots in the Bluff, which is a mixed urban area of Pittsburgh. Gentrification has taken away the people and replaced them with hospital and University concerns. We then moved to a middle class suburb in Pittsburgh. It was a great place to grow up but was insulated and did not challenge the status quo. It was like owning one overly comfortable couch designed for me but not for uninvited others from other diverse parts of the city. Some grew from that environment and some are still sitting in that couch…waiting.
Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?
Giulio: My most recent work is usually my favorite. I am my biggest fan in that respect. (Laughs) I might choose an elegy I wrote on the occasion of the death of a mayor Richard Caliguiri here in Pittsburgh who was mayor from 1977 to 1988. That poem was read the 4th of July following his death with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Point Park in front of over 100,000 people. The poem is currently archived in the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
I love music, cinema, and apart from my writing, I like to post my cuisine on social media. I am inspired to help people in their own kitchens, and pass on the lessons of my teachers, like my Nonno and the rest of my family from Toscana and Calabria. I also include my many teachers who own restaurants in the Pittsburgh community. We are a close-knit group. Traveling is an earnest desire, but due to circumstances I have been unable to do that as I have wanted.
Q7: What is a favorite line/ stanza/lyric from your writing?
Giulio: I have a poem called Artists and the Intelligentsia where I discuss artistic process. There is a stanza that reads: “The medium and the touchstones of civilization were defined through history as an artist’s production that begets the manifestation of us” Ask me that question another day, or hour, and I will give you another answer from another poem.
Q8:What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?
Giulio: Classical has to be at the top of the list. My heroes in life play for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. I have great memories of rock concerts and bluegrass also. The greatest or most important song is like wondering which drop of the ocean you most prefer as you listen to the roar of the waves on the beach. We cannot enumerate the stars in the sky either, unless we use
them for a backdrop of love.
Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, projects that you would like to promote?
A timely question I am glad to answer. As it happens I have a new release The Color of Dirt, which is an anthology of my poetry, flash fiction, and some poems in Italian. It is being published locally by Word Association Press. It will be available on their website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and we will also do direct sales from home. I will be performing in as many venues as possible to promote the book. I am in the midst of creating a blog to keep readers informed of my latest schemes. Who knows when or where I am likely to turn up?
Bonus Question: Any funny memory or strange occurrence you’d like to share during your creative journey?
What reason did they give to call them “privates”? Seriously, there have been a lot of years and I have had the pleasure of the joy and the thrashings. Despite my age I look forward to the memories and strange occurrences that await. Curiosity did not kill the cat. It motivated him (in my case) to keep writing and performing.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
if interested in DIRECT SALES of The Color of Dirt
My blog is under construction. At this time I urge readers to check my Facebook page until the blog is finished, https://www.facebook.com/Giulio27
BIO: Giulio Magrini started writing poetry in the early 1970’s, and takes most of his inspiration from the darker sides of human nature. He has performed at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, and many other former venues in Pittsburgh like the Lion Walk and Encore II, and was among the four featured poets at the Fifth Fourth River Poetry Festival in 1990. Giulio has conducted poetry workshops in alternative high schools, prisons, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, and hosted a radio show for local poets. He
was asked to perform one of his poems, The Pittsburgher, as an elegy honoring the late mayor Richard Caliguiri before the Pittsburgh Symphony at Point State Park before a 4th of July crowd of over 100,000 people. That poem is now archived in the Heinz History Museum. Giulio occasionally writes in Italian for performances, as he instructs his audiences to listen to the sounds of the Italian and remember them as he translates. Magrini has always
preferred the performance of his work over publishing, until now. The Color of Dirt is an anthology of his poetry and flash fiction, and is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and also from his publisher at:
https://wordassociation.com/poetry%20book%20page/thecolorofdirt.html The color of Dirt may also be obtained directly from the author by contacting him at <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com
A Poetry Showcase from Giulio Magrini
A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Jay Maria Simpson