Tintjournal Logo

Letizia Mariani


First Language(s): Italian
Second Language(s): English


Letizia was born in Erba, Italy, and moved to the United States in 2009. She now resides in California where she is pursuing a PhD in English at UCI. Her poems have appeared in The Summit Avenue Review and ellipsis..., and she was recipient of the 2017 Lon Otto Prize in Creative Writing.


What was your favorite book as a child?

My favorite book as a child was “The Little Prince”. My parents would read it to me before I learned how to do it myself, and I've since returned to it several times in both English and Italian. It's one of those books that ages well, and no matter how old you are, you can pick it up and learn something striking and new. When I was younger, I loved the pictures and the title character's wild adventures through space. With time, I grew to cherish the way Antoine de Saint-Exupéry masterfully navigates complex themes of friendship, belonging, and yearning with both simplicity and depth.

Do you remember the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?

I think we are all born with a desire to express ourselves more deeply than daily conversations leave room for. Some folks pick up painting, others learn a musical instrument, but for me it was always writing. The impulse to make literature was there from the beginning — I wrote short stories as a child, and I was one of those angsty teens who scribbled amateur poetry in the margins of their notebooks. But writing started taking on a concrete form in my undergraduate studies when I took a course with a poet who really taught me to dedicate myself to the craft of poetry and keep my appointment with the muses. That's when I began writing seriously, and it became a way not only to draw my thoughts and feelings out of myself, but also to engage with the world around me. I learned that the work of poets is observation, and that was a game changer for me.

What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?

The most adventurous thing I ever did has to be uprooting myself and moving to a different country, although I was following my parents at the time so I can't really take credit for the decision to move. But I must say, the move instilled in me a pull to travel and see new things. Since coming to the US eleven years ago, I've moved three times, and I'm probably not done yet!

Do you listen to music while reading or writing?

I don't listen to music while reading or writing. I love music, but I get lost in it. When I listen to it, it demands a lot of my attention, so if I try to play it in the background as I'm reading or writing, I just end up getting distracted. I read and write well in silence because I can actually think about what I'm doing and listen to the sounds of the words I'm engaging with.


Issue Fall '20

Supported by:

Land Steiermark: Kultur, Europa, Außenbeziehungen
U.S. Embassy Vienna
Stadt Graz