Emilio DeGrazia, ’63
1999 Elkin R. Isaac Lecture
Professor of English at Winona State University
Wednesday, April 14, 1999; 7:30 p.m.
Bobbitt Visual Arts Auditorium
Emilio DeGrazia holds master”s and doctoral degrees in English from Ohio State University. He has lived in Minnesota since 1969, and is currently a professor of English at Winona State University.
DeGrazia says he began his career as an author “in the middle of [one] night in 1973.” That night produced a first draft of “The Enemy,” one of the stories included in Enemy Country, DeGrazia”s first published book. Enemy Country was selected by Anne Tyler for a Writer”s Choice Award and chosen as one of Library Journal”s “Best Small Press Books of 1984”; another collection of stories, Seventeen Grams of Soul, won a Minnesota Book Award. DeGrazia has also published more than 100 works of fiction, poetry, and essays in various anthologies and literary journals. He is the author of two published novels, Billy Brazil and A Canticle for Bread and Stones, has co-edited the anthology 26 Minnesota Writers, and is the founder of the literary journal Great River Review. A third short story collection, Born-Again Blues, is awaiting publication.
Of his craft, DeGrazia says: “I”m driven by fairly old-fashioned ideas about the writing life: That one becomes a writer by discovering that one has something to “say” that the result should be at once story, sermon, and song; that one should genuinely want to communicate, present a vision capable of evoking a passionate response; …and that good art has only one legitimate raison d'etre, the clarification of life for the purpose of enhancing it.”