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.
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Number of pages: 350
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
A magnificent collection . . . can become one of the key texts in Italian-American literature . . . illustrates the dynamic process by which a literary canon is formed. -- -Edvige Giunta * editor of Writing With An Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Authors *
Wild Dreams: The Best of Italian Americana edited by Carol Bonomo Albirght and Joanna Clapps Herman, presents fiction, memoirs, and poetry. * -Publishers Weekly *
Poems, short stories, and memoirs from issues over the past 30 years have been gathered in [this] new collection. * -The Boston Globe *
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 * Feile-Festa *
. . . 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. * -Council on National Literatures *
"Joanna Clapps Herman and Carol Bonomo Albright do everything right in their brilliant, must-have new collection of works by I/A authors: they've created a table big enough for everyone to sit, enjoy the familiar, experience the new, and take their fill. Wild Dreams is as carefully and wonderfully made as a feast." -- -Gina Barreca * University of Connecticut *
One of the graces of the volume is its special collection of memoir glosses on monuments of Italian American literature . . . [and] poems to read, teach, and savor. -- -Tom Ferraro * author of Feeling Italian: The Art of Ethnicity in America *
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. * -Library Journal *
... a step in the right direction for rethinking Italian-American culture and identity. * -National Catholic Reporter *
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