Volume XXIV No. 1 Winter 2016

Table of Contents

  • Letter from the Editor1
  • Notes on Contributors3
    Articles
  • Memories of Work and Definition of Community: The Making of Italian Americans in the Mahoning Valley/
    Donna M.DeBlasio & Martha I. Pallante
    9
  • Opera as a Nationalistic Weapon: The Erection of the Monument to Giuseppe Verdi in New York City/
    Stefano Luconi
    37
    Poetry
  • Featured Poet Barbara Poti Crooker, Essay:
    Reflections on Immigration, Identity, and Poetry
    65
    • Sketch for ‘Le Bonheur de Vivre,’ 190567
    • Lighthouse and Buildings, Portland Head, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, 192168
    • Word Search69
  • Dante/Dante Di Stefano70
  • Espresso/Donna Pucciani72
  • A Brief History of My Life/Elizabeth Iannaci73
  • Cure/Joanne Tangorra74
  • In the time when the ghosts were alive/George Guida 75
  • Conversion/Peter D’Epiro76
  • “The Creation of Adam”77
  • Given Notice/Lois Roma-Deeley78
  • The Painter/Terese Coe79
  • Land’s End/Ron De Maris80
    Fiction
  • Big Girl Stories/Nancy Carbonia85
    Reviews
  • Making Italian America: Consumer Culture and the Production of Ethnic Identities edited by Simone Cinotto
    (Andrea Ciribuco)
    97
  • An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians by Paul Moses
    (Joseph A. Amato)
    101
  • Gli Stati Uniti e il Risorgimento d’Italia, 1848-1901 by Daniele Fiorentino
    (Ferdinando Fasce)
    105
  • Daughters, Dads, and the Path through Grief: Tales from Italian America by Donna H. DoCello & Lorraine Mangione
    (James Garbarino)
    106
  • The Real Rockys: A History of the Golden Age of Italian Americans in Boxing 1900-1955 by Rolando Vitale
    (David Davis)
    108
  • The Story of the Lost Child. Book 4, The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
    (Carol Bonomo Albright)
    110
  • Stone Walls by Gil Fagiani
    (Chris Cannella)
    112
  • The Hero Enkidu. An Epic by Lewis Turco
    (Ilaria Serra)
    113
  • The Heart and the Island by Chiara Mazzucchelli
    (A.M. Cinquemani)
    114
  • Calabria: the Other Italy by Karen Haid
    (Christina Favretto)
    116
  • The Italians in Worcester County, Massachusetts by Vincent A. Lapomarda
    (John Paul Russo)
    118
  • The Book of Twos: The Power of Contrasts, Polarities, and Contradictions by Joseph A. Amato
    (Joseph Bathanti)
    119
    Letter from the Editor
    Carla A. Simonini

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to bring you the first issue of Italian Americana to be published at Youngstown State University (YSU) in Youngstown, OH. I am certain that many of you greeted the news that the journal’s Summer 2015 issue was to be its last with sorrow and disappointment, as did I. Most unexpectedly, though, my sense of regret morphed into an opportunity when retiring editor-in-chief Carol Bonomo Albright expressed her support for having me assume the editorship, subsequent to which my department chair and dean came through with the resources necessary to allow me to continue the publication of the journal at YSU. To celebrate this occurrence, and in gratitude to the many loyal readers who have supported the journal over the years, this issue is being sent out to everyone on the 2015 subscriber list as a gift. Those of you who generously responded to our renewal call over the summer are receiving this issue as a bonus edition, and for those of you who have not yet renewed, we hope that the quality of the current offering will entice you to do so in the near future.

This issue, representing my first editorial venture, would never have been possible without Carol Bonomo Albright’s guidance and assistance and the continuing efforts of John Paul Russo, co-editor and review editor, and Christine Palamidessi Moore, fiction editor. My gratitude extends also to retiring poetry editor Michael Palma, who spread the word that Italian Americana was still accepting poetry submissions and nominated award-winning poet Maria Terrone to be his successor. Maria Terrone, assisted by YSU professor of English Steven Reese, reviewed the submissions to create a particularly strong poetry section for the current issue.

While the mission of the journal remains the same, we have effected some changes. One notable change introduced by Terrone is the expansion of the Featured Poet section, providing readers with a broader sample of the poet’s works. We have also broken with tradition in our Articles section, as I have elected to reprint a work previously published in the journal Ohio History by Donna DeBlasio and Martha Pallante. Their article, titled “Memories of Work and the Definition of Community: The Making of Italian Americans in the Mahoning Valley,” weaves together a number of oral histories from the archive “Steel Valley Voices”1 against the backdrop of Italian immigration and integration in the greater Youngstown area. Drs. Pallante and DeBlasio gave me a copy of their–at the time– unpublished manuscript to read when I was newly hired at YSU as a means of introducing me to northeast Ohio’s many and varied Italian American communities. It is my hope that our readership finds the article as interesting and informative as I did, and learns more about this less-studied region heavily populated by Italian immigrants and their descendants. Our second article, meanwhile, offers a unique perspective on the interplay between Italian high- and low-culture centered around the image of Giuseppe Verdi. In his article “Opera as a Nationalistic Weapon: The Erection of the Monument to Giuseppe Verdi in New York City,” scholar Stefano Luconi explores how leaders in different Italian American communities organized campaigns to erect statues in honor of the renowned operatic composer in an effort to bolster Italian ethnic pride within the community, while raising its esteem in the eyes of greater society.

Our Fiction section features an original short story by Nancy Caronia, penned on the heels of her having earned her doctorate degree in English from the University of Rhode Island. Caronia turns to the familiar theme of family, motherhood in particular, in her “Big Girl Stories,” but moves far beyond the nostalgia and sentimentality most often associated with the figure of la mamma in Italian American writing.

Finally, our Book Review section features reviews of a number of works in various genres, from scholarly books to collections of poetry, all of which provide readers with informative synopses and critical insights. I am honored to be able to continue to publish Italian Americana and hope to share scholarly and creative works related to the Italian experience in the New World with an ever wider readership over the years to come. In addition to the editorial team, Carol Bonomo Albright, John Paul Russo, Christine Palamidessi Moore and Maria Terrone, I would like to express my gratitude to the journal’s founders, Ernest S. Falbo and Richard Gambino, for their pioneering efforts in the field of Italian American studies, and my chair, Dr. John Sarkissian, and my dean, Dr. Jane Kestner, for recognizing and supporting the mission of the journal Italian Americana.

Sincerely,

Carla A. Simonini

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