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Clippings, Articles & Reviews

poster for Remembering Pietri Di Donato event at Stony Brook UniversityPoster for April 29, 2022 Stony Brook University event, marking the 30 year anniversary of Di Donato's death.

Highlight of the event is the debut of a film short entitled, "Six Objects." The documentary has Di Donato's son displaying six objects with great sentiment and archival significance attached. The objects range from the writer's own bricks and trowel, from the Strong's Neck House, to the sign painted by a local artist and friend, which was displayed for many years on the front of his magnificent brick garage.

image of flyer for Di Donato symposiumConflicts Depicting Race and Ethnicity in Fiction, 1962 and 2021: Philip Roth, Ralph Elison, and Pietro Di Donato - Symposium - In 1962 Phillip Roth, Ralph Ellison, and Pietro Di Donato appeared on the same stage together at Yeshiva University. The symposium was to discuss their literary responsibility in representing their respective minority groups: Jewish; Black; and Italian. The archived audio tapes have not seen the light of day until the present - aired at this November, 2021 conference at the Newark Public library - a result of the dogged historical sleuthing of Prof. William Connell, of Seton Hall University. Conference video is available here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

NEWSDAY feature spread, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022 - Photo shoot at the Upstate New York home of the author's son. He discusses his memories, his archival photos and materials (including a portion of a brick wall built by his father in 1960), and the present day resurrection of his father's classic novel, Christ in Concrete.

La Reppublica, January 29, 2022 - Rome journalist Stefano Massini opens his excellent piece on the 'unfolding resurrection of the author,' with a masterful comparison between two locations: one, in Di Donato's birthplace of West Hoboken, NJ (now Union City, amidst noise and smog) - the other, a bucolic country lane flanked by vineyards and olive groves outside the birthplace of his parents in Vasto, Italy. Both locations now "historical sites" marked with placards in honor of their native son, and grandson, Pietro Di Donato. The article appeared in Italy's biggest paper, La Reppublica.

The Vatican Observer, January 15, 2022 - Interview with Di Donato's son by well-known Rome journalist Ignazio Gori. Gori had probing questions; and in particular wanted to know more about the author's iconic 1960 biography of the twelve-year-old Saint of "Mercy and Forgiveness," Maria Goretti, the Virgin Martyr of the Catholic Church.

In 1902, the Goretti family was sharing the rustica country farmhouse of the Serenelli family, as farmhands. After long being obsessed with the girl, his passions enflamed, the nineteen-year-old Alessandro Serenelli stabbed Maria to death when she kept her vow to God and valiantly repelled his sexual advances.

Maria clung to life overnight, begging for all to forgive Alessandro before she died of her many wounds. Truly, an astounding story - and - an equally magnificent account wrought from Di Donato's extensive research in Maria's home town in Italy, in 1960 (see "The Goretti Collection").

New Retrospective on The Penitent - Some sixty years later: reexamining Di Donato's iconic book of passion, crime, and redemption, The Penitent - the figure of the twelve-year-old's murderer, Alessandro Serenelli, comes to the fore as the real story behind this brutal crime perpetrated in 1902 rural Italy.

Crime at its Core: Looking Back at Pietro Di Donato’s Christ in Concrete (1939), September 16, 2021 - Peter Blauner takes the freshest approach to Christ in Concrete in many years. He cleverly points to "criminal" capitalist beast Job, being Di Donato's core grievance against society . . . while the candid story of his own reading of the novel is brilliant - itself approaching "operatic." He effortlessly takes on what academia has been mired in for decades: "the language," and style and voice, of the prose. For those who have put the book down more than once, or shied away from approaching it - this piece is invaluable.

The Surprising True Story of Pietro Di Donato, the Bricklayer Turned Author (America Magazine, Fall 2019) - An appreciation of Di Donato's iconic 1939 novel on its 80th anniversary, this article from The Jesuit Review not only details the book's history, but explores its relevance in a time of increasing institutional bureaucracy and anti-immigrant sentiment.

An Immigrant's Pain in Concrete (New York Times, October 1990)

1939 Publisher's Tribute to the Author

From Laborer to Literary Lion (Newsday Magazine, November 1981)

Make Love article (The SUN, L.I. newspaper, 1969)

Wisdom of Labor (Chicago writer Tom Johnson's 1985 interview in FRA NOI magazine)

Joseph Barbato Interview (In 1976 Barbato took the train out to Stony Brook where the author picked him up and drove him out to the Strong's Neck house)

Pace University Interview (This is the Dorothee von Huene-Greenberg interview, considered a key interview of the author. It took place over the course of three meetings at the Strong's Neck house in 1985)

Pietro Di Donato, Lo Scrittore Operaio - An expansive biography and analysis from an Italian business school.

Article Marking 80th Anniversary of Novel - Italian Newspaper Abruzzo nel Mondo

Associated Press wirephoto 8/4/42, taken at Cooperstown, NY Conscientious Objector camp - Dubbed by the New York Times as "Concrete Consci," Di Donato spent a few months at the Upstate camp breaking camp rules and carousing in town in the evenings. During this period he would meet his wife-to-be, Helen Dean.

Pietro Di Donato Reevaluated - A condensed treatment of the now firmly-established research work of Michael D. Esposito, based on a series of interviews conducted in 1977.

Unforgettable Power: A Remembrance - Newsday book reviewer and columnist Leslie Hanscom wrote this personal remembrance shortly after the author's death in 1992.

The Bricklayers Son - the week of his death in January of 1992, Long Island's legendary newspaper, Newsday, created a whirlwind special edition to canonize the Long Island author: who wrote the novel; raised a family; and died, all on the North Shore: although born and raised just west, across the Hudson on the Palisades of Hoboken, New Jersey - Di Donato became recognized as the true Renaissance Man of nature's unique geological formation: Long Island

Once Upon A Time - once again, Joseph Barbato makes the pilgrimage out to the Strong's Neck House on the North Shore: he captures beautifully the mystique of the surroundings on a chilly day - fire crackling in the fireplace - construction of the writer's own hand - Is the author forgotten - a once-known name? Barbato attempts to get to the bottom of the question. posed circa 1975

An Afternoon With Di Donato - Di Donato never failed to give a provocative, even audacious live interview - and Chicago-based Tom Johnson never failed to draw forth as in this 1985 interview under the big maple tree of the Strong's Neck House: criminal acts and war crimes foremost on the writer's mind as the first invasions of Iraq, under George H. W. Bush, flourish in the American media and public psyche.

Missing Poets and Writers of Vasto

Bricklayer - TIME Magazine, 1939, book section - TIME's review of initial release of Christ in Concrete, with photo of Di Donato on jobsite.

Pietro Di Donato, lo scrittore muratore: 2011 Italian-made documentary (29 min.) drawing on numerous sources: historical still images with voiceover; authoritative interviews - and featuring very rare, fantastic black & white-16MM footage shot by RAI TV crew - with famed TV journalist Carlo Mazzarella interviewing the author - spanning 1960-1974: on location at The Strong's Neck House; on a union bricklaying job at newly-built Stony Brook University; Rome; and Vasto, Italy.

Pietro Di Donato - The Red Sauce Film

SIX OBJECTS: Notes toward a film on Pietro Di Donato, 2022

Stonybrook students research Pietro Di Donato

Hollywood Exiles in Europe: "Christ in Concrete" - Feature article from 2014 UCLA Film and Television Archive film series. It offers some interesting theories on social/political metaphors - might be a bit of a stretch and pseudo-heavy at times, but worthwhile. (Are we groping for deeper meanings here, in Dmytryk's favorite tricks of low camera, noir-chiaroscuro photography?) (including process techniques he invented)

New York Times  Review of Christ in Concrete - Analysis of Di Donato's language in Christ in Concrete by Charles Poore of the New York Times, circa 1939

Lone Star Cement Corporation pocket notepad: this multi-faceted gem was utilized by Di Donato, on the job, laying bricks, to capture flashes of ideas, settings, and characters: notably – these fragmented ‘leaves of thoughts’ constitute a wonderful window on the the formative months during the creation of Three Circles of Light – making these notes circa ’58-’60.

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