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Publishers WeeklyIn the mid 1970s, Richard Gambino, Ernest Falbo and Bruno Arcudi co-founded Italian Americana, which ran "not only the historical articles and book reviews that other such newly initiated ethnic journals published but also... fiction, memoirs, and poetry." Put together by current editor Albright and writer Herman, this anthology collects notable works from across the decades, "great literature that could easily be included in ethnic studies and American literature." Slotted into five categories-Ancestors, the Sacred and Profane, Love and Anger, Birth and Death, Art and Self-the more than 60 poetry and prose pieces effectively communicate the breadth of the Italian American experience. In "The Garden of the Apocalypse," Vincent Ferrini writes of identity and posterity: "(Each) person/ carries a civil war within him/ who wedding the contraries/ in himself/ already is on his way/ pioneering the new civilization." In "My Father at Eighty-Five," Vince Clemente writes, "I find him/ in the haze and drone/ of the hospital ward, trace/ every line in his sad face/ back to his lower East Side boyhood." One of the most remarkable pieces is Christina Bevilacqua's conversation with academic Camille Paglia; in it, the women reflect on a slew of topics, including family, solitude and Dante. With broad appeal and a strong, distinct point of view, this collection should relate to readers of all backgrounds.
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