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Paul Violi--Biographical Note

Cary Nelson

Paul Violi was born on July 20, 1944, the son of Joseph T. and Irma (Francesconi) Violi. He grew up on Long Island. Violi earned a B.A. from Boston University in 1966 and married Carol Ann Boylston (a teacher) three years later. They have two children, Helen and Alexander. Violi was managing editor at Architectural Forum from 1972-74. He is now an adjunt professor at New York University.

Among his books is The Curious Builder, which as one reviewer noted, "contains poems in the guise of public radio pledge drive, police blotter, rare book price list, errata sheet, and Chinese fireworks company catalogue."

Reagan Upshaw

Violi is the best poet today writing what might be termed the sitcom poem: He sets up an everyday situation as his format and then fills it out in a manner at once unpredictable and yet strangely appropriate. . . . For all his humor, Violi has always had a clear, marvelous eye for his surroundings and an ability to depict them precisely. . . . When Violi is on, the non sequiturs are fresh and funny, and the abstract ideas that inhabit his poems charm like garden statues. When he is off, which generally occurs in the long poems, the thoughts struggle to connect or abandon any hope of doing so. . . . Yet there is always an obvious love of language. . . . Violi's poetry is deserving of, and would be enjoyed by, a wide audience.

From Multicultural Review

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