Wild Dreams: The Best of Italian Americana / Edition 2

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For more than thirty years, the journal Italian Americana has been home to the writers who have sparked an extraordinary literary explosion in Italian-American culture. Across twenty-five volumes, its poets, memoirists, story-tellers, and other voices bridged generations to forge a brilliant body of expressive works that help define an Italian-American imagination. Wild Dreams offers the very best from those pages: sixty-three pieces-fiction, memoir, poetry, story, and interview-that range widely in style and sentiment, tracing the arc of an immigrant culture's coming of age in America. What stories do Italian Americans tell about themselves? How do some of America's best writers deal with complicated questions of identity in their art? Organized by provocative themes-Ancestors, The Sacred and the Profane, Love and Anger, Birth and Death, Art and Self-the selections document the evolution of Italian-American literature. From John Fante's My Father's God,his classic story of religious subversion and memoirs by Dennis Barone and Jerre Mangione to a brace of poets, selected by Dana Gioia and Michael Palma, ranging from John Ciardi, Jay Parini, and Mary Jo Salter to George Guida and Rachel Guido de Vries. There are also stories alive with the Italian folk tradition (Tony Ardizzone and Louisa Ermelino), and others sleekly experimental (Mary Caponegro, Rosalind Palermo Stevenson). Other pieces-including an unforgettable interview with Camille Paglia-are Italian-American takes on the culture at large.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
. . . pays witness to the explosion of high quality literary art that is one of the signal triumphs of Italian American culture in the last twenty years.-John Gennari

Unlike our dreams that remove us from reality, here we have the written testimony of Italian Americans across the decades, from the early authors who unhesitantly embrace their Italian identity to today's authors struggling to recover its meaning as it is transformed by the New World.-Rosemarie Crupi Holz

. . . Recognizes the often poignant experiences of people who live in two cultures, and who try to preserve the one and be understood by the other.

Publishers Weekly
In 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

In this exquisitely written collection of moving prose and poems, the Italian American experience is transmitted by words. The contents are the selected "best of" Italian Americana, a literary journal by Italian Americans about Italian Americans. The work is intended for scholarly study as well as for the general public. The five sections of the book-"Ancestors," "The Sacred and the Profane," "Love and Anger," "Birth and Death," "Art and Self"-are each divided into prose and poetry. Albright (editor in chief, Italian Americana) and Herman (writing, Manhattanville Coll.) include such gems as a poem about a missing father by Gerald Malanga, Andy Warhol's assistant; an interview with Camille Paglia, the controversial feminist author of Sexual Personae; and moving tales of life in general, such as Salvatore La Puma's "A Marvelous Feat in a Common Place," a story about a man's nearly delusional longing for his deceased pet cat. This is an extraordinary compilation of truly inspired works. Recommended for public and academic libraries of all sizes.
—David L. Reynolds

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823229109
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2008
  • Edition description: 2
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

CAROL BONOMO ALBRIGHT is editor in chief of Italian Americana and former vice-president of the American Italian Historical Association. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

JOANNA CLAPPS HERMAN is an ward-winning critic, short-story writer, and poet, and co-editor of Our Roots Are Deep with Passion: Italian-American Creative Nonfiction. She teaches in the Masters in Writing program at Manhattanville College and lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction Carol Bonomo Albright Joanna Clapps Herman 1



My Father's God John Fante 11

The Actor Prepares Michael Maschio 22

The Night Maggie Saw God and Sal Barnum Too Carol Bonomo Albright 29

Sizes Joseph Papaleo 35

An Etruscan Catechism Mary Caponegro 41

Lamb Soup Tony Ardizzone 54

Marco's Marcoroni Tony Zurlo 73

The Guest Rosalind Palermo Stevenson 76


East River Nocturne Felix Stefanile 95

On the Square from "Duets in Three-Quarter Time," Anne Paolucci 100

Autobiography Robert Viscusi 101

Tea at Aunt's John Ciardi 102

Cento at Dawn Daniela Gioseffi 104

L'Esiliatu (The Exile) Domenico Adamo 105

The Cellar Twenty Years Later W. S. Di Piero 106

Minotaur Lewis Turco 107

The Garden of the Apocalypse Vincent Ferrini 108

In the Golden Sala Sandra Mortola Gilbert 109

Father's Days Gerard Malanga 111

In Tunis I Walked through Halfaween Alexander Theroux 112

Shinto Mama George Guida 113

Spanish Steps Gerald Mancini 115

Nana's Earrings Tina Tocco 117

The Sacred and Profane


Against Gravity Albert Di Bartolomeo 121

My Friend, Angelo Ralph Orlandella William Foote Whyte 132

That Winter Evening Antonio Costabile translated by Lucia Mudd 141

Sanctifying Grace Philip Cioffari 153


Luisa and Buffalo Bill John Addiego 167

The Concept of God Kim Addonizio 169

My Father at Eighty-five Vince Clemente 170

The Caves of Love Jerome Mazzaro 171

Linens Rina Ferrarelli 173

Love and Anger


The Two Uncles: An Addendum to Mount Allegro Jerre Mangione 177

The Prince of Racalmuto Ben Morreale 182

Wild Heart Maria Bruno 189

A Conversation with Camille PagliaChristina Bevilacqua 195

Big Heart Rita Ciresi 209

Permanent Waves Kenny Marotta 220

Perfect Hatred Joanna Clapps Herman 233


Inside the Inside of the Moon Brian McCormick 243

Why I Drive Alfa Romeos Kevin Carrizo di Camillo 245

Walking My Son on the Beach J. T. Barbarese 246

The Skeleton's Defense of Carnality Jack Foley 247

Birth and Death


A Marvelous Feat in a Common Place Salvatore La Puma 251

Where It Belongs Louisa Ermelino 255

Unraveled Paola Corso 259

Mama Rose Ann Hood 270

Cairns Dennis Barone 275

Card Palace Christine Palamidessi Moore 283


Planting a Sequoia Dana Gioia 297

E si riuniscono, questi vecchi ... LindaAnn Loschiavo 299

Grandmother in Heaven Jay Parini 300

Art and Self


Cape Clear Peggy Rizza Ellsberg 303

Language Lesson Grace Cavalieri 304

Lizard-Tree Peter Covino 306

Athletes of God Grace Cavalieri 307

Libretto Mary Jo Salter 308

Books, how silent you are John A. Tagliabue 311

Requiem for a Practical Possum Michael Palma 312

Self-Portrait as Woman Posed on Flowered Couch Clare Rossini 314

Happenstance Joseph Salemi 315

War Song Rachel Guido deVries 316

About the Authors 317

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