Allison Grimaldi Donahue was born and raised in Connecticut and New York City. She moved to Italy permanently over ten years ago. She received her BA in English from St. Michael’s College (Vermont, USA), an MA in Italian Studies from Middlebury College (Vermont, USA), an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto, an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and her PhD from European Graduate School (Saas-Fee, CH) in Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought (summa cum laude) with a thesis on translation theory and language plasticity under the supervision of Catherine Malabou. She is an artist, poet, writer and translator. She’s author of Body to Mineral (Publication Studio Vancouver 2016) and On Endings (Delere Press 2019) and translator of Blown Away by vito m. bonito (Fomite 2021) and Self-portrait by Carla Lonzi (Divided 2021). Her work as appeared in Another Gaze, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Brooklyn Rail, BOMB, FlashArt, Nero and other publications. She has given performances at Gavin Brown in Rome, Hyper Maremma, Short Theatre, Almanac, MACRO, Mambo and Fondazione Giuliani. She has been writer in residence at the New York Center for Book Arts and at the Bread Loaf Conference, as well as an artist in residence at Vermont Studio Center, Mass MoCA, MAMbo, Bologna and presently at IUNO Rome. She teaches creative writing at John Cabot University and Italian literature at Middlebury College School in Italy.
Grimaldi Donahue has, from a young age, been interested in how language works and affects our lives. This began with years of reading American poetry and much of her interest is still with poetics and form. Her research and practice are centered around language, translingualism and post-structuralist thinking. Her thinking and writing are grounded in the works of Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes, Maurice Blanchot and Catherine Malabou and how these researchers not only propose exciting ideas but do so with an affective and emotional mode of writing. Grimaldi Donahue’s own work takes the form of autotheory, poetry and performance as well as through research and activist driven literary translation as a way of re-making the literary canon and redrawing the boundaries of national literatures.
Presently she is most interested in the intersections of feminism and avant-garde in Italian writing from the late 20th century, studying, interacting with and translating the work of writers such as Carla Lonzi, Alice Ceresa, Giulia Niccolai and Patrizia Vicinelli. She is also currently working on a book of versions of Petrarch’s Canzoniere and their relationship to grief and mourning. Grimaldi Donahue also regularly collaborates with visual artists to build scores and performances.
Allison Grimaldi Donahue’s teaching is firmly rooted in the belief that the classroom is a meeting place where ideas come together. Her teaching and her own practice are closely linked; each semester her courses are developed in conjunction with whatever she herself is working on. She teaches creative writing that always stems first from, as Frank O’Hara called it, ‘creative reading.’ Her courses taught include literary translation, art writing, writing poetry, and other forms of prose writing. As a teacher of writing she believes that her task is to help each student become the writer they want to be.