Volume XXXVIII No. 1 Winter 2019

Please note: Due to a printing error, this issue was numbered incorrectly as Volume XVIII. No. 1 (Winter 2019); it should be Volume XVII. No. 1 (Winter 2019) and cited as such.

Table of Contents

  • Letter from the Editorv
  • Notes on Contributorsix
  • Chicago to Islam:
    Assimilation Figures in Five Stories by Tony Ardizzone
    Fred Misurella
  • “Let’s have a glass of vino”: Italian Immigrants, Wine and
    Community in John Fante’s The Brotherhood of the Grape
    Sostene Massimo Zangari
  • Praying Toward Acceptance:
    Aspects of African, Anglo, and Italian American Cooperation
    Dennis Barone
    • Poetry
    • Featured Poet Judith Vollmer
      • Essay, “Notes on Pavese and Seeing”39
      • The Strange Building41
      • The Immolation42
      • Open, Grove43
    • In Umbria I Become a Guitar
      Clare Rossini
    • Piece Work
      Marisa Frasca
    • Of Ashes, Dirt
      Ja’net Danielo
    • Dark Cathedral
      Gaby Bedetti
    • The Day in Crescents
      Gianna Russo
    • Have You Ever Been a Victim of Violence?
      Eleven Reasons Why I Don’t Check Yes
      Nicole Caruso Garcia
    • Ode to Parenting, Forgetfulness, Balms, Ziplocs, Grains,
      Acquiescence, Stoves, Apps, the Moon & Mars, Departure
      Martha Silano
    • Exit Right
      George Guida
    • Learning How to Shop for a Woman
      John Ortenzio Bargowski
    • The Patriot
      Gail Thomas
    • In My Brother’s Recovery Room
      Lois Roma
    • The Things I Carry
      Sharon Charde
      Fiction & Creative Non-fiction
    • Airport Outskirts
      McKenzie Teter
    • Maria
      Kayla Ciardi
      • Reviews
      • Review Essay: The Artist as Transatlantic Hero
        Toscanini: Musician of Conscience by Harvey Sachs
        Review by Andrea Mariani
      • Incontri italoamericani: Identità, letteratura, riflessi dell’emigrazione
        edited by Michele Bottalico
        Review Essay by Valerio Massimo De Angelis
      • Pizzini d’Amuri/Love Notes by Senzio Mazza
        Review by Joseph Russo.
      • No! In Whispers. The Rhetoric of Dissent in American Writing
        edited by Michele Bottalico
        Review by Pamela Mansutti
      • Dangerous Perfection: Ancient Funerary Vases from Southern Italy
        edited by Ursula Kästner and David Saunders
        Review by Han Tran
      • Migrant Marketplaces: Food and Italians in North and South America by Elizabeth Zanoni
        Review by Michael J. LaRosa
      • The House of Early Sorrows: A Memoir in Essays by Louise De Salvo
        Review by Eleonora Rao
      • Read ‘Em and Reap: Gambling on Italian American Writing by Fred Gardaphé
        Review by Manlio Della Marca
      • The Arrows That Choose Us by Marilyn Annucci
        Review by Caterina Ricciardi
      • Not for Self: A Sicilian Life and Death in Marion by Joseph L. Cacibauda
        Review by John Paul Russo
      • Odyssey and Other Poems by Joseph Gabriel
        Review by Paolo Dainotti
      • Sicily Jass: The World’s First Man in Jazz directed by Michele Cinque
        Review by Vincenzo Caporaletti
      • Bitter Trades: A Memoir by Giovanna Miceli Jeffries
        Review by Rita Ciresi
      • Wind in the Cave: Poems by James B. Nicola
        Review by John Paul Russo
      • Diagnostics: Poetics of Time by Joseph A. Amato
        Review by John Paul Russo
        Letter from the Editor
        Carla A. Simonini

      Dear Readers,

      It is with great pleasure that we bring you the Winter 2019 issue of Italian Americana, the first to be published at the journal’s new home at Loyola University Chicago, where it is serving as one of the cornerstones of the university’s newly established Italian American Studies Program. I was honored to have been chosen as the program’s Founding Director and now hold the position of the Paul and Ann Rubino Endowed Professorship in Italian American Studies. In August I moved from Youngstown, Ohio, to begin my new job. Alongside of great opportunities, the move has presented a number of challenges, not the least of which was transferring all of the systems related to the administration and production of Italian Americana to Loyola. Honestly, it felt like we had just gotten everything in place in Youngstown and here we are starting all over again! Ultimately, though, with the continued dedication of the journal’s editorial staff, the support of the administration of the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola, and the journal’s new affiliation with a distinct program of Italian American Studies, this new home promises to provide Italian Americana with the opportunity to extend its readership and enhance its mission to explore the Italian experience in the New World from a variety of perspectives.

      The current issue offers a rich mixture of scholarly and creative works, poetry, and our book review section, brought together by our adept editorial team, including Maria Terrone (poetry), John Paul Russo (book reviews) and Christine Palamidessi Moore (fiction and creative nonfiction). Tom Slagle has continued in his role as our Editorial Assistant, undertaking a wide range of responsibilities including copy editing, layout, correspondence and, most impressively, cover design. The quality publication you hold in your hands represents the culmination of his efforts.

      While the content of this issue would appear to traverse diverse topics, a number of common themes stand out, in particular our contributors’ treatment of pressing issues in our contemporary society through an Italian-American lens. Our opening article, Fred Misurella’s “Chicago to Islam: Assimilation Figures in Five Stories by Tony Ardizzone,” and the essay “Praying Towards Acceptance: Aspects of African, Anglo, and Italian American Cooperation” by Dennis Barone explore the intersections of race, ethnicity and constructs of “whiteness,” evoking the discourse of the Black Lives Matter Movement, as well as issues related to immigration/migration and displacement. Our creative works, McKenzie Teter’s short story “Airport Outskirts” and Kayla Ciardi’s memoir “Maria,” treat these same themes, as do a number of the books reviewed. Ciardi’s work, in particular, poignantly probes the question of “vetting” immigrants to determine their “fitness” to enter the US, and the issue of family separation in the process. By examining the past in very personal terms, Ciardi challenges us to look at the present with a critical and compassionate eye.

      Our poetry section features Judith Vollmer, who in her opening essay “locates” her italianità through her artistic spirit more so than her “bloodline.” While the figure of her Barese great grandmother, Apollonia, may have provided the inspiration for her most recent book (The Apollonia Poems, University of Wisconsin Press, 2017), it is in Santo Stefano in Piedmont, the home town of Italian poet and novelist Cesare Pavese, that Vollmer experiences a “sibling-like presence.” Pavese, in addition to being considered one of the most important Italian literary figures of the twentieth century, was also a scholar of American literature, his encounter with which he characterized as being among the greatest experiences of his life. The American poet Vollmer describes her encounter with Pavese’s Italy as equally transformative; the places Pavese inhabited are transposed upon her own childhood homes in Pittsburgh and Northern Appalachia. In this manner, Santo Stefano becomes for Vollmer a “beloved familiar,” underscoring how the transnational experience offers more than one possible route for establishing a connection with one’s italianità.

      Other poems in this issue treat timeless themes of the bonds that bind us together, be they familial or romantic: between lover and beloved, parent and child, grandchild and grandparent, young and old, living and deceased. The father-son relationship is further examined in our second scholarly article, “’Let’s Have a Glass of vino’: Italian Immigrants, Wine and Community in John Fante’s The Brotherhood of the Grape” by Sostene Massimo Zangari. Zangari focuses on wine as a signifier of Italian-American culture and how the act of “sharing a glass of vino” in Fante’s text serves to symbolically consecrate what is an otherwise troubled and complicated relationship.

      In conclusion, I would like to thank the people at Loyola University Chicago who have provided me with the support and resources necessary to publish Italian Americana, specifically: Thomas J. Regan, SJ, Dean; Arthur J. Lurigio, PhD, Senior Associate Dean; Catherine Carlson, Business Manager, all of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Susana Cavallo, PhD, Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. I would like to thank these same people for their role in sustaining the campaign to establish the Italian American Studies Program at Loyola University Chicago and for having faith in me to lead it. In this regard, I would like to also thank Dominic Candeloro, PhD, who for over five years tirelessly promoted Italian American Studies in order to raise the necessary $500,000, which was matched by Loyola University Chicago, to endow the Paul and Ann Rubino Professorship in Italian American Studies position I currently hold. One final special “grazie di cuore” goes to Fred L. Gardaphé, PhD, Distinguished Professor of English and Italian American Studies at Queens College/CUNY. Dr. Gardaphé has been my mentor since graduate school, when he agreed to serve on my dissertation committee. A ground-breaking scholar in Italian American Studies, Dr. Gardaphé in fact hails from Chicago and began his academic career here. It seems therefore serendipitous that this first issue of Italian Americana to be published at Loyola University Chicago should include a review of his most recently published work, Read ‘Em and Reap: Gambling on Italian American Writing (Bordighera Press, 2017), which is a collection of reviews originally published between 2006 and 2016 in Fra Noi, Chicago’s premier publication focusing on the Italian-American community.

      All in all we are very pleased to bring you this issue. We hope you enjoy reading it, and we look forward to bringing you more from Loyola University Chicago.