Listening to the world ... and being able to describe it
Interview with Vinicio Salvatore Di Crescenzo
by Maria Teresa De Donato
Social media is a great opportunity in our day, especially when used honestly, with a spirit of empathy, human solidarity and sharing.
This is the spirit I personally approach them with and I am very happy when I come across equally sensitive, cultured, intelligent and intellectually honest souls. Not because I consider myself special, but because I believe that this attitude and this spirit do promote and encourage the creation of healthy and constructive human, professional and friendly relationships, based on respect, mutual esteem and a common view that somehow contributes to the formation of a better world.
This has been my experience with many colleagues, authors, writers, poets, artists, and other professionals I came into contact with, some of whom I hosted and will again in the future in my Virtual Cultural Salon.
Among the many that have contributed to enriching my life humanly, spiritually, and culturally, I certainly need to mention Vinicio Salvatore Di Crescenzo that I have the honor of considering both a colleague and a friend, and that I am presenting to you today.
MTDD: Hi Vinicio and welcome to my Virtual Cultural Salon. Thanks for joining us.
VSDC: Thank you for your kind hospitality.
MTDD: Vinicio, why don't you start by introducing yourself to our readers and telling them who you are, where you come from, professional and non-professional studies and experiences, or anything else you feel like sharing with our audience?
VSDC: Sure, it would be my pleasure, Maria Teresa. First of all, I consider myself to be an ambitious seeker of emotions in this wonderful world that hosts us. Yes, because this manifestation, among the highest expressions of human feeling, is not always spontaneously recognized, rather we are, through the use of our sensitivity, to give it a body and a right role in the intimate and private sphere of our life. I was born in Fondi, an ancient municipality in the province of Latina, founded – hard to believe it – in the fourth century BC, a few decades after Rome to be clear and, albeit emigrated to Rome with my family since the age of about ten years, I have always felt strongly linked and stimulated, especially on an artistic level, by my native land. A territory with effervescent natural manifestations where sea, hill, lake, and mountain coexist in a riot of colors imbued with perfumes with a typical Mediterranean flavor. But above all, it is a territory that has seen the brothers Giuseppe and Pasqualino De Santis, respectively film director and photography director, grow and mature. Art painters such as Domenico Purificato. The poet and writer Libero de Libero and again, personalities from the past and present world of entertainment that I am not going to mention here for the list would be too long. It is, therefore, evident that this rich and fascinating corollary of natural ideas between southern and central Italy has stimulated and enhanced many of the individual creative traits of my fellow citizens, and in the most diverse artistic disciplines. I would just add, it is certainly no coincidence, if most of my compositions refer mainly to nature, even if integrated with stories that concern culture and society, habits and living conditions of the families that characterized the second half of the 1900s, when Italy was in full economic growth. And all this, without ever losing sight of the "mos maiorum", that is the traditions and customs typical of my ancestors’ land, and that could still be defined as a peasant today.
MTDD: Since childhood you have shown a particular inclination towards the arts starting with Music and Painting. Would you like to tell us about it?
VSDC: Music has always been my greatest love after poetry. I began to study it almost by chance as my father, bewitched by the accordion, purchased it even though he was aware that nobody, at least in the immediate future, could give it a voice. My first music teacher was a member of the Choir of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome, to whom I owe a lot for how he introduced me and made me know about the world of music and singing. With him, I took my very first steps on the fantastic planet of notes, the pentagram and the sound intended as a refuge of thoughts and mind, which I then continued on my own and for a long time still with passion. Accordion, guitar, organ and, finally, piano. My approach to these musical instruments was often a challenge, the victory of which was represented by the certainty of having given them a soul and a voice. More generally, any activity that involved a good dose of inventiveness and imagination stimulated in me the desire to design, to create precisely. For this very reason, I was also attracted to the painting that had always intrigued me and attended the workshop of an elderly Sabine painter where I learned the first rudiments of this ancient art. Under his advice, I learned to treat oil colors, canvases, and brushes, as if they were the soul that gave life to the images of the world that I wanted to faithfully reproduce as well as "read" through my eyes. Poetry and painting are two artistic expressions that I have always loved to combine: "Painting is a silent poem and poetry is a blind painting", thus stated Leonardo Da Vinci identifying innovation and fantasy in the fusion of the arts. Perhaps this is why I find it extraordinarily fascinating to mix these disciplines with music in a single expression: a poem with bright colors and a musicality that flows lightly through words.
MTDD: Congratulations on your quite interesting journey. When exactly did Poetry appear in your life and why did you end up considering it "Your maximum creative expression?"
VSDC: Actually, although I am also delighted in other disciplines, I have always put my most exuberant need in the foreground. The activity that best managed to extrapolate from within my inner world sensations and experiences I might have already experienced: poetry. I started writing during my adolescence because I wanted to fix on paper, through the analysis of my conscience, what I could perceive. It almost seemed like a pressing need. Then the words came. Those words that presented themselves to give substance to my every thought and that ran light along the lines on the paper. A fluid and rewarding operation that was accomplished almost without hesitation. Of course, I wrote for myself, to re-read myself maybe a few weeks or even a few months later. And the magic of all this was that I got excited every time I did it, as if it had been the poetry of someone else I never read about. I wrote for healthy and simple passion, without thinking too much of it, as everyone else of my age did. Who didn't have a super-secret little diary where he wrote down his most intimate and important thoughts? I understood that poetry would become my creative source that most of all could give vent to my desire to create, when I realized that the study and research in composing verses, they seemed more simple and spontaneous. I understood it, when creating images through words using the most effective lexemes had become almost a game, and the purity of thoughts was my goal.
MTDD: I know you have a vast literary production. What can you tell us about it?
VSDC: Although I started writing poetry very early, I never considered the aspect of whether or not to publish what I had produced in so many years. I remember that unlike many, I wrote everywhere as a boy, although I knew that in doing so, much would be lost. I used to leave pieces of paper containing phrases, thoughts, and small poems everywhere in the house. And often I could not find them anymore. Only years later I understood why those small handwritten fragments of paper had disappeared. My mother had recovered all of them without my knowledge but for one purpose only: to be able to preserve them and avoid their certain destruction. After almost thirty years I found myself in the hands so much material that, after careful revision, in 2012 I published them with a simple but emblematic title: Poems from my diary, the cover of which was produced by using the image of one of my oil on canvas paintings. With this first collection of mine, I overcame the uncertainty that many authors of poetry grasped in some way: the publication of their own intimate thoughts. After that, it was certainly less complicated to continue doing so. I did it seriously and with real passion. The Courage of Thoughts the shyness of poetry was my second poetic collection which came out just a year later.
Both produced and included in the editorial market by Arduino Sacco Editore. To follow, in 2015 Secrets Unveiled, published by David & Matthaus. A sort of free confession on my intimate vision of the world and of life, with poems written only and exclusively in the first person. The issues adopted, linked to the result of a careful introspective research in relation to human feelings. Solos, published in 2016 by Le Mezzelane Edizioni, is the fourth collection that focuses on the concept of music-poetry as a combination of expressions enclosed in the metaphor of nature as an orchestra, and the poet's voice as the main instrument of a symphony: 'Un Assolo' (One single Solo) in fact. Same principle with Vernice Damar (Damar Paint) published by Edizioni Ensemble in 2019 that describes how writing can be combined with a splendid painting, and how poetry can be its 'damar paint', a fluid that painters use on images that are now dull with light and brilliance to bring them back to a new splendor. Finally Triticum, published by PAV Edizioni. A powerful work with a strong structure. Partially illustrated, this collection contains sixty poetic compositions. The lyrics are developed on three thematic-emotional levels, connected together through a diachronic path parallel to the seasonal cycle of wheat which has become emblematic in our culture, but above all important for our diet: wheat. Triticum extends over three fundamental moments relating to the cultivation of wheat: sowing, reaping, and gleaning. Each of these phases is assigned a series of poems connected to a particular emotional theme, or to an element that I considered adhering to that passage of cultivation. However, it contains also real physical references to wheat fields, which connect almost spontaneously to the interpretative skills that human nature possesses. I like to emphasize that in addition to poetry, there have been several occasions when I had the chance to write short stories and see them be included in various narrative anthologies.
MTDD: "Listen to the world ... to be able to tell it": Can you elaborate on this concept of yours?
VSDC: To a certain extent, this is linked to the answer I gave to your very first question. It relates to a certain ability of knowing how to highlight some brilliant nuances that accompany our human existence on the journey of life. Often not so evident, when not even imperceptible. However, almost all people with good sensory perception remain imprisoned by their beauty, the result of a subjective emotional interpretation, entrusted to the degree of personal sensitivity. Here, the concept is that if we have the tools to decode these weak, but extremely fascinating messages that the world transmits to us, we are equally able to amplify them according to the perceptual level put in place. Knowing how to listen means knowing how to interpret it and being able to tell it in some way: be it through painting, poetry, or something else.
MTDD: I had the honor of reading and reviewing your Triticum anthology, which I consider an extremely beautiful collection of poems with romantic, melancholic, nostalgic tones, but which at the same time highlight your attachment to your land and your down-to-earth approach to life.
Regardless of my review, which naturally reflects my personal opinion on the matter, what kind of poet do you feel you are? Do you have a definition for your verses or do you at least feel close to a particular author?
VSDC: I think I am a poet of today. Suitable for the historical period that I live. Traditionalist to a certain extent as well as avant-garde, but without ever losing sight of what ancient literature has transmitted to us. The Sicilian poetic school marked the true beginning of this art and in Petrarch – in the fourteenth century – poetry established reference models that remained as such even till the nineteenth century. This means that the poetic form is almost as important as the content and that surely some modern influences distort its ancient physiognomy in some way (and woe if it were not so) but preserving its classical structure so that it does not turn into prose is fundamental in my opinion. My way of thinking poetry is part of this current of thought. Of course many poets, especially in the nineteenth century, have more or less influenced the style I adopt in my writing. Mine is, however, a personalized style towards which, I carefully work through a meticulous search for the right word. Furthermore, while respecting the form that most satisfies me, my poetry is often dry, devoid of what can be avoided: ideal for Labor Limae. Intense and effective, built with verses that develop harmony and cohesive musicality. A poem that I try to make homogeneous and fluid to reading.
MTDD: Among the many things that I appreciated when reading this collection of yours, there is a verse that has remained engraved in my mind and that, in my opinion, reflects your total honesty in presenting yourself to the public as you really are:
“I cry in front of the abyss
who has opposed all my ambitions
struck down by fatigue without desire and convinced insecurities
daughters of fear and uncertainty."
Life is a struggle above all against ourselves, against our doubts, our uncertainties, our fear of failing while facing the unknown ... - all concepts that, in my opinion, should be taught to us from an early age.
What can you tell us about it based on your own experience, but above all in light of these verses of yours?
VSDC: You have undoubtedly hit the nail on the head of the true meaning of this poem.
A profound reflection that digs into the soul and highlights the concept of
struggle between will and doubt, between risk and certainty, between project
and failure. An ancient dilemma in front of which every human being has found
himself compelled to make a choice, directing his fortunes towards successes
or defeats. In the first part of life, enthusiasm, strength, and energy reign.
Knowing how to make the most of this temporary condition is essential
to be able to enjoy after what has been produced and built,
in the second half of life. And it is precisely in this last phase that the real
and conscious self-criticism begins. That which condemns certain features
of one's own life, where the conviction of not having
reached our full potential through the right determination becomes more evident.
MTDD: According to Vinicio Salvatore Di Crescenzo, acts Life more like a
"Mother" or more like a "Stepmother"?
VSDC: Life is an immense gift we have the responsibility to manage. Analyzing the two forms in relation to the concepts expressed by Pascoli and Leopardi but referring to nature, according to which for one it is wonder and tender vision, for the other pessimism and melancholy expression in opposition to man, I would say that both can coexist in relationship also to life. Our vision of life is authentic and reacts in concert to conscience, education, and respect for it as perceived and then lived. Our approach to it is fundamental: the more we are inclined to be pessimistic and melancholic, the easier it is to see life as a stepmother who hides all purity and truth from us. But if our eyes are devoted to the good and the exaltation of the privilege that has been given to us through life itself, everything changes. Life becomes then a mother. A mother who dispenses love and care, growth, and values. The analysis is certainly objective and generalized, but having to express my personal judgment, I would say that my life looks more like a mother to me than like a stepmother. A mother who embodies the passions of man and his purest feelings.
MTDD: Thanks, Vinicio, for taking some time off for this interview. I hope to have
you here in my Virtual Cultural Solon as my guest again. How about our readers
who might wish to purchase your publications and/or get in touch with you, how
can they do so?
VSDC: In order to always stay in touch with those who decide to follow me, I have created an official website and the following social profiles:
Official site: https://www.viniciosalvatoredicrescenzo.com/
Besides, for those who also want to have information and news regarding the world
of writing, my personal blog is active at:
Furthermore, to purchase my poetic collections but also to get information related to my entire
bibliography you can write to email@example.com
Finally, I like to be able to say that after six poem collections in which I have traveled a long journey that is still ongoing and I will never set as a goal, the most intense happiness is embodied in the joy that fills my heart every time I end up creating an intimate, sincere and direct connection with those who read my soul through the poetry that expresses all my essence.