Poets & Writers

Writing in the Eternal City

Source: The American Academy in Rome

STEPHEN MORISON JR. is a contributing editor of Poets & Writers Magazine.

ON A Monday in late October, I trek from my apartment atop the Aventine Hill, across the Tiber River and up the Janiculum Hill to the American Academy in Rome (AAR) to meet with the winner of the 2016 Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize in Literature, one of two eleven-month fellowships in literature awarded by the AAR each year, to learn about the opportunities available to writers hoping to spend their own four seasons in the Eternal City.

Ma t t hew Nei l l Null, author of Honey From the Lion (Lookout Books, 2015) and Allegheny Front (Sarabande Books, 2016), meets me inside the McKim, Mead, and White building—a century-old villa that serves as the center of the A AR—pa s t the marble-manteled fireplaces of the billiards room, and into the small bar (in Italy, a bar is both coffee shop and pub). Small framed sketches and paintings of past fellows fill the high walls, forming a bright checkerboard of tradition and fame.

“I’m obscure; I’m published by independent presses. There are many other glitzier names out there,” Null says, describing how thrilled he was to discover that he had been

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