Corrado Paina is a deeply insightful and powerful international poet and writer. He writes in both English and Italian. He has published five poetry collections in English and four in Italian, including a book of short fiction. Most recently, his Italian novel, tra Rothko e tre finestre, was just translated by Damiano Pietropaolo and published by Quattro Books as Between Rothko and 3 Windows. Paina is a fascinating writer who should definitely be read, in any language.
Please explain the meaning of the title of your new book. What does it refer to?
Between Rohtko and 3 Windows is about a murder at the AGO which houses a painting by Rothko and the three windows were in a video that was part of an exhibition entitled Ultima Thule. The victim is looking at a video that shows the three windows of a house in Norway. In that very moment he is killed.
Would you call this novel a crime novel?
Probably a novel. I am not a prose writer and definitely not a crime writer. At the very most I am a criminal… the way I treat prose is criminal.
Where did this novel come from? What inspired you to write it?
Things happen in Toronto and there is a Toronto that not too many know. The Toronto of ethnicities, the Toronto of cultural neighbourhoods, the multibarrio mindset that some people love…
Why was it important for you to have this translated into English?
Finally somebody will read me, no more excuses…
If this novel were turned into a film who would you like to see direct and act in it?
Ugo Tognazzi and Marco Ferreri or Nicholson and Polanski.
Do you think that the ideas of identity are still important in Canada today?
Ideas are not very important in Canada, the identity of ideas is quite faded.
Do you prefer to write poetry or prose?
I love my partner, Deborah, she is prose, she is poetry.
Do you have a specific writing routine, or do you write based on structured projects?
I need to be alive to write, the method is irrelevant to me.
Does your Italian background play an important role in what you write?
My Cuban regrets play a bigger role.
What are you working on now?
A book on illness… ill poems on life support.