Unlikely Stories Presents

PAUL GRILLO hails from lands unknown

To the Unlikely Stories home pageWith a fierce and fearless wildness, the epic poems of Paul Grillo tackle our mores and folkways with a sort of rational fury. These poems ruthlessly dissect our culture, yet maintain a sense of distance that helps them cut that much deeper. What's more, they never lose sight of innocence and beauty; as viciously satirical as they are, they never slip into cynicism. And they always excite with their incredible energy.

Paul Grillo was born in 1943 and is a Cancer, with an Aries Moon and Aries Ascendant. He spent his early years shuttling between "mean street acappella corner stores" and "darkstar Jesuit study halls." While other kids were skimming comic books and the Saturday matinee, he was memorizing Avedon photos of China Machado in late 50's Vogue and falling in love with foreign films.

After seeing Marcel Camus' "Black Orpheus" (1959), he decided to become a poet, and his first poems were published when he was still in his teens. His undergraduate and graduate studies included Comparative Literature, Art History, and The Poetics of Mysticism. From the late 1960's through the 70's he devoted most of his talents to teaching Creative Writing in the inner city, and connecting with many of the major avant-garde artists of the time (including Gerard Malanga, Charles Plymell, Ira Cohen and Charles Henri Ford) hand his first experiments in photo-collage date approximately from this time.

Although Grillo has called the 1980's a period of "domestic obscurity" he was, nevertheless, expansively active throughout the decade…connecting with a wide circle of multi-cultural artists, writers, and musicians…teaching, making poems and collages, and exploring with his camera.

An acknowledged disciple of the International Surrealist Tradition, Grillo's collages are "painterly dreamscapes" deeply infused with alchemical images from distant cultures, jazz, rock 'n' roll, old films, and haute couture. His collage art has been widely exhibited and is part of many important private collections.

He has published poems and collages in countless magazines in both the USA and Europe, and is the author of five books, including Manhattan Spiritual (with Guy Beining, 1976), Vibes of the Saints (1977), and Skin of Doubt (1978). Several all-new collections of his poetry, including Burnt Sienna and The Owlette Diaries stand ready for publication. He is also well known for his many dynamic readings & performances of his work.

Grillo spent much of the 1990's as a part time commuting resident of Montreal, whose charmed vistas and enchanting characters provided new fuel for his work (as documented in Agents of a Silenced Life: The Kebec Poems 1989-1999).

He currently teaches English and coordinates the academic program of a prestigious Philadelphia area art school. With his French-Canadian wife Anita-Rose, he lives "in psychic transit" somewhere between the Jersey shore, his native Philadelphia and La Belle Porvence. He has no e-mail address, but you can reach him through Unlikely Stories.

Paul's works here at Unlikely Stories are:

The Fruits of the Harvest
Schindler's Fist
This Kingdom without Dawn
Broken Moons, Neon Echoes