department of english

114 Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

Main Office: 401.874.5931 - Graduate Office: 401.874.4663

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Peter Covino

  • Associate Professor
  • Creative Writing; Avant-Garde and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics; Italian American, Translation, and Ethnic Studies
  • Phone: 401.874.9499, Office: 308B Swan Hall
  • Email:


As a former professional social worker who has worked in the fields of foster care, AIDS services, and youth and family services, and as an Italian immigrant, poet, translator, and essayist Peter Covino’s creative writing and research interests continue to be strongly influenced by the interrelationship of ethnic culture, work in translation, and psychosocial identity.  He recently wrote the “Introduction” and co-edited the forthcoming collection, Essays on Italian American Literature and Culture, Bordighera Press,CUNY (2012).  His chapter “Innovation, Interdisciplinarity, and Cultural Exchange in Italian American Poetry” also recently appeared in the Modern Language Association textbook,Teaching Italian American Literature, Film, and Popular Culture (2010)other essays on the work of Diane di Prima, Blaise Cendrars, and Velimir Khlebnikov, among others are forthcomingHis translations of Italian poets have been featured in Atlanta ReviewItalian AmericanaItaloamericana, The Journal of Italian Translation, and the anthology New European Poets, Graywolf Press 2008. Covino is also one of the founding editors of the literary press, Barrow Street Inc, and the Barrow Street Books; and in 2009, he was appointed poetry editor for VIA: Voices in Italian Americana.

Courses taught include offerings at a variety of levels in poetry writing and publishing, and various special topics seminars in Italian American literature and ethnic culture. He regularly teaches courses in Creative Writing – Poetry, Avant-garde and Contemporary Poetry & Poetics, The Epic, and World Literature.

Covino is the author of the poetry collections, both from Western Michigan University/New Issues Press, The Right Place to Jump (2012) and Cut Off the Ears of Winter (2005), winner of the 2007 PEN/America Osterweil Award, and a finalist for the Publishing Triangle Thom Gunn Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Please see a recent review of his work here:

Other reviews have appeared in such publications as American Poet (Academy of American Poets), The Journal, Small Press Review, and Quarterly West among others. His chapbook,Straight Boyfriend (2001), won the Frank O’Hara Poetry Prize; and recent poems have been published or are forthcoming both in America and Italy in such places as the American Poetry ReviewCimarron ReviewColorado Review, Connecticut Review, Gulf Coast, Interim, Lo-Ball, Leggendaria, New Orleans Review, The Paris Review, tutteStorie, The Yale Review, and The Penguin Anthology of Italian-American Writing, among others. Covino’s newer work reflects a growing concern with Italian historical influences, issues of environmental impingement, contemporary art,and visual and poetic experimentation.


Creative Writing, Avant-garde and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics; Italian American, Translation, and Ethnic Studies


  • Ph.D., University of Utah
  • M.A., City College New York
  • M.S., Columbia University School of Social Work
  • B.A., Amherst College

Personal website:

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