Public Engagement

General Public

A Tribute to Poet Paul Violi (1944-2011)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Wollman Hall, Eugene Lang College 65 West 11th Street Room B500, New York, NY 10003

A book launch and reading of Paul Violi’s Selected Poems: 1970-2007 (Gingko Press), edited by Charles North and Tony Towle.

With David Lehman, faculty, MFA Program, and the winners of the annual Paul Violi Poetry Prize established in Paul’s honor in 2011. Lehman will join Charles North, and Tony Towle, editors of the Selected Poems, in reading from the new book. The winners of the first four Paul Violi poetry competitions -- Alex Crowley, Justin Sherwood, Alexandra Bennett, and Carson Donnelly – will also read. The award is given annually to a second-year poetry student in the New School’s graduate writing program.

Paul Violi, one of the major New York School poets of his generation, was celebrated for his inventive wit, his ability to find the poetic resonance of nonpoetic language, his deadpan and his ability to get serious ideas across without didactic earnestness. An inspiring poet and beloved instructor, he wrote more than a dozen collections of poetry, including Waterworks (1972); In Baltic Circles (1973, 2011); Harmatan (1977), which was based on his experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria; the groundbreaking Splurge (1982); Likewise (1988); The Curious Builder (1993); Breakers: Selected Poems (2000); and Overnight (2007).

Paul earned his BA in English from Boston University and served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria from 1966 to 1967. A confounder of Swollen Magpie Press, he collaborated on a variety of projects with Kenneth Koch, Charles North, Tony Towle, David Lehman, and other prominent figures. He also worked as managing editor of Architectural Forum, organized poetry readings at the Museum of Modern Art, was at one time an assistant to Buckminster Fuller, and taught poetry to inmates at Sing Sing.

Violi received the John Ciardi Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Morton Dauwen Zabel Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram Merrill Foundation.  He taught at New York University and Columbia University. At the time of his death in April 2011, he was a long-time faculty member in the New School’s graduate writing program.

Hosted by the MFA Creative Writing Program



Event Type

Author Readings and Discussions


General Public


Writing and Literature


Schools of Public Engagement, School of Writing




Free to all.

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