Gardaphé, Giordano, and Tamburri attend a conference in Lecce, Italy, in May 1999.
We couldn’t have done it alone!
Bordighera Press – an imprint of Bordighera Incorporated founded in 1989 by Fred L. Gardaphé, Paolo A. Giordano, and Anthony Julian Tamburri – is thriving in a time when some thought new, alternative presses would be hard put to succeed. A recent Renaissance in Italian/American writing surely has something to do with the modicum of our success. Bordighera Incorporated began primarily as the non-profit publisher of Voices in Italian Americana, known also as VIA, now chiefly edited by Fred L. Gardaphé, Director of Italian/American Studies and American Studies at The State University of New York at Stony Brook.
A semi-annual magazine, VIA is dedicated to Italian American literature and culture and first appeared in Spring 1990 after we found ourselves with more than 200 pages of worthwhile creative works left over from our initial cooperative venture, the anthology From the Margin: Writings in Italian Americana published by Purdue University Press. (The anthology sold out and was reprinted in 1995 and subsequently in a new edition in 2001, still available at Amazon.com as well as other on-line book stores.) To accommodate its overflow, we founded VIA with the realization that, at the time, there were no active magazines of any significance dedicated to the particular cultural plight and profile of the Italian/American writer. (Italian Americana, founded in 1974 by Ernesto Falbo of The State University of New York at Buffalo and Dr. Richard Gambino of Queens College of the City University of New York, had suspended its publication in 1983 and did not resume until 1990 after VIA was already underway.) Having realized early on to what a significant extent Voices in Italian Americana has helped to fill a void, even with the existence of both Italian Americana and The Italian American Review, we have done our best to publish consistently two volumes per year.
Voices in Italian Americana, Bordighera’s initial effort, is a journal divided into various sections. “The Guest Spot” was once edited by Daniela Gioseffi, responsible for bringing guest writers of other backgrounds to its pages each issue to keep the venture from becoming insular. She brought such luminaries as Grace Paley, Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, Carilda Oliver Labra, Robert Bly, Stephanie Strickland, and Bob Holman to grace VIA’s pages, among such writers as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, John Ciardi, Jonathan Galassi, Felix Stefanile, Carol Maso, Chris Mazza, Tony Ardizone, Dana Gioia, Richard Gambino, Jerre Mangione, Grace Cavalieri, and Ben Morreale – to name just a few of the fine writers who have been published in VIA.
Many have gathered around the magazine in support of its endeavors to give a voice to the Italian/American community and its unique place in American literature. There are sections dedicated to Essays; Fiction; Poetry edited by Mary Jo Bona, Professor of Italian/American Studies at SUNY, Stony Brook; we later inaugurated a section of Italian Writing in the United States; and Reviews, as well as news notes, appear in each issue. Voices in Italian Americana has also devoted issues to Pietro Di Donato, author of the famed depression years novel, Christ in Concrete, celebrating the plight of immigrant laborers; Jerre Mangione, novelist and author, with Ben Morreale, of La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian in America, published in 1993 by Harper Collins; a 1996 issue was dedicated entirely to Italian/American women writers. Guest edited by Professor Edvige Giunta; and our most recent special issue was dedicated to Frank Sinatra, which also features an essay on ten of his paintings.
Since its inception, Voices In Italian Americana has also awarded a monetary prize for creative writing: the Aniello Lauri Award of $150 per year to the best creative work published in the journal. In addition to this award, Voices in Italian Americana has also supported the Cleveland Italian Cultural Center’s annual high school essay contest by publishing the winning essays.
VIA’s sister publication, Italiana, dedicated to Italian language writing in the United States, was initially founded by Professors Paolo A. Giordano of Loyola University in Chicago, and Albert Mancini, of The Ohio State University, in 1986. Italiana became a Bordighera Press publication in 1991. Italiana has since published ten volumes, each one dedicated to a specific theme or author of Italian culture and guest co-edited.
North Americans may seem at times insensitive to the subtle discrimination suffered by Italian Americans and their writers. Few are aware of “Una Storia Segreta,” the little known history of concentration camps for Italian Americans, which existed here in the United States during World War II, just as for Japanese Americans whose farm lands and homes were falsely confiscated in the name of U.S. security. A documentary, pictorial exhibit of this injustice has been touring the country and came from The University of California to The City University of New York in 1998, thanks mostly to the efforts of Larry Di Stasi.
Due to the absence of any publishing house for Italian American writers – one which would allow the non-stereotypical, true story of the Italian American experience to be told in the United States – Bordighera Press branched out into publishing VIA FOLIOS in 1993, a series of books chiefly edited by Anthony Julian Tamburri, professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. VIA FOLIOS specializes in the literature and culture of both Italian America and Italy.
By the middle of 1997, VIA Folios accumulated a list of eleven titles: three collections of poetry, by, Ned Condini, Joseph Ricapito and American Book Award Winner, Daniela Gioseffi; a novella by Fred Misurella; a chapbook by Robert Viscusi, recent American Book Award Winner, on the most current death of Christopher Columbus, which inaugurated the series; four books of critical studies; a volume on Italian theater; and a collection of literary essays by Helen Barolini, editor of The Dream Book: Writings by Italian American Women, from Schocken/Pantheon, 1986 winner of the American Book Award. And, many other titles that have since been published and are currently in print in 2003. In all, there are currently 31 titles in the series.
In 1998 Bordighera Press launched a second series, CROSSINGS, dedicated to translations of Italian works into English, in some cases in a bi-lingual edition. It’s thirteenth volume, a collection of Dino Campana’s Canti Orfici, is scheduled to appear in May 2003. Two books in this series have won international awards. Tom Simpson’s translation of Marco Pailini’s The Story of Vajont, won international recognition form Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Affairs for “excellence in publication”; Emanuele di Pasquale’s translation of Silvio Ramat’s Sharing a Trip won the prestigious Sonia Raiziss Giop Translation Award, which is granted by the Academy of American Poets.
The initial funding for Bordighera Incorporated came from the Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli of Turin, Italy, without whose help none of the press’s several ventures could have been possible. Since 1990, Bordighera Incorporated has managed to prosper due also to the generosity of numerous individual supporters and subscribers and the various means of generous support of the three editors’ home institutions: Columbia College Chicago, The State University of New York at Stony Brook, Loyola University Chicago, Purdue University, and now Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Bordighera Incorporated is an independently owned, not-for-profit (501[c]3) scholarly organization with no legal affiliation to any campus institutions.
Because of Bordighera Press, many Italian/American writers have begun to say who the Italians in America really are in all of their complexity. These writers are beginning to wipe away the Hollywood stereotypes. They have begun to enter the mainstream of the multicultural movement and to attempt to tell their own stories there as African, Jewish, Latino, and Asian American writers learned to do to break free of cruel and debilitating stereotyping.
Each year, at Poets House in New York City, Bordighera Press announces the winner of its POETRY PRIZE for the best manuscript of American poetry to be translated into Italian to create a bi-lingual text. The Bordighera Prize, sponsored by the Sonia Raiziss-Giop Charitable Foundation for Poetry offers $2,000 to the annual winner, plus book publication by Bordighera, Press. The prize was initiated by Daniela Gioseffi and Alfredo dePalchi to promote both the literature of the diaspora and its language. When Eugene Montale won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his poetry and was complimented for his poetic gift, he answered forlornly, “What does it matter? I write in a dying language.”
Italian chiefly lives internationally, due to music and opera. Of course, names like Dante and Montale keep it alive, too, but Gioseffi, along with dePalchi – the Senior Editor of Chelsea magazine – wanted to help the Italian language thrive more stronely among American poets. To promote the Italian language among Italian American poets, and to help foster Italian American poets, Gioseffi was inspired to collaborate with Alfredo dePalchi to found the BORDIGHERA POETRY PRIZE. The two poets serve as coordinators of the prize, leaving the final anonymously judged choice to another distinguished poet each year. The distinguished judge for 1997 and 1998 was Felix Stefanile, from 1999-2000: W.S. DiPiero, and from 2001-2002: Dorothy Barresi. The winners have been Lewis Turco, Joe Salerno, Luisa Villani, and Steven Massimilla. Their translators into Italian for their bilingual editions have been Joseph Alessia, Emanuel di Pasquale, Luigi Fontanella, and Luigi Bonaffini, a professor at Brooklyn College, who was also awarded a Translator’s Citation of $500 in 1999 for his fine work of translating previous entries to the prize.
Alfredo DePalchi as Trustee of the Sonia Raiziss-Giop Foundation, also helped to institute the Sonia Raiziss-dePalchi Prize for translation of Modern Italian poetry under the aegis of The Academy of American Poets. With Sonia Raiziss, his former, now deceased wife, dePalchi, a poet in his own right, author of three celebrated collections from Xenos Books, was devoted to the translation of Modern Italian poetry into English. Chelsea was edited by Sonia Raiziss and Alfredo dePalchi to promote internationalism in poetry and literature. The Bordighera Prize is a further effort toward an international spirit in American literature.
If we are here today, it is because of the many people and institutions that have helped us along the way. In addition to our subscribers and customers, we also need to thank many others that have already been mentioned above: Early on there were the Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, Columbia College, Purdue University, and Rosary College. More recently, we need to think the American Italian Historical Association, Florida Atlantic University, Loyola University Chicago, and SUNY Stony Brook. Some individuals, in addition to those many supporters you will find listed in VIA’s frontispiece, include: Alfredo dePalchi, Daniela Gioseffi, Albert Mancini, Franco Nasi, Marcello Pacini, Lidia Ramogida, Deborah Starewich, Felix Stefanile
Biographical Notes on the Founders of Bordighera Incorporated.
FRED GARDAPHÉ directs the Italian/American Studies Program and American Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He earned his M.A. in English at the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in United States Literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He taught five years at the high school level before taking a position in English and Educational Studies at Columbia College in Chicago. At Columbia he created and taught writing, literature courses and courses in Italian/American film and literature from 1978-1998.He is Associate Editor of Fra Noi, an Italian American monthly newspaper, editor of the Series in Italian American Studies at State University of New York Press, and co-founding-co-editor of Voices in Italian Americana, a literary journal and cultural review. He is past President of the American Italian Historical Association (1996-2000), and served as Vice President of the Italian Cultural Center in Stone Park, IL from 1992-1998. His edited books include: New Chicago Stories, Italian American Ways, and various volumes of the American Italian Historical Association. He has written two one-act plays: “Vinegar and Oil,” produced by the Italian/American Theatre Company in1987, and “Imported from Italy,” produced by Zebra Crossing Theater in 1991. His study, Italian Signs, American Streets: The Evolution of Italian American Narrative, is based on his dissertation which won the Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli/Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs award for 1993 dissertations) and was published by Duke University Press in 1996; it was named an Outstanding Academic Book for 1996 by Choice. Gardaphé has also published Dagoes Read: Tradition and the Italian/American Writer and Moustache Pete is Dead!: Italian/American Oral Tradition Preserved in Print. He has written numerous reviews and essays on other Italian/American Writers and prepared an extensive bibliography of their books.
PAOLO GIORDANO received his Ph. D. in Italian Studies with a minor in Art History from Indian University, and his MA in Italian from Middlebury College. He is currently Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Loyola University Chicago (1998 - present). He has served as Director and Academic Dean of the Loyola University Rome Campus and as Director of the Master Program in Liberal Studies. Giordano has also held teaching appointments at the Scuola Italiana of Middlebury College. His research interests are in Italian-American Studies, the Italian Renaissance, and 20th-century Italian Literature. His essays and articles on Italian literature and art, Italian-American studies, have appeared in Italian and American journals. The most significant publications he has been associated with are From the Margin: Writings in Italian Americana, edited with Anthony Tamburri and Fred Gardaphé and recently re-released as a second and revised edition; Beyond the Margin (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1998) also with A. Tamburri. He is co-founder of Bordighera Press, publisher of the semi-annual, Voices in Italian Americana (co-editor), the annual, Italiana (co-editor), and two book series, VIA FOLIOS and CROSSINGS, as well as the Bordighera Poetry Prize. He also serves as Associate Editor of Italica, the publication of the American Assocaition of Teachers of Italian. He is currently working on an essay on Gabriello Chiabrera for the Dictionary of Literary Biographies.
ANTHONY JULIAN TAMBURRI is Professor of Italian & Comparative Literature, and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Research, and Interdisciplinary Studies in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, at Florida Atlantic University. He has written Of “Saltimbanchi” and “Incendiari”: Aldo Palazzeschi and Avant-Gardism in Italy (1990); To Hyphenate or not to Hyphenate: the Italian/American Writer: Or, An “Other” American? (1991); Per una lettura retrospettiva. Prose giovanili di Aldo Palazzeschi (1994); A Reconsideration of Aldo Palazzeschi’s Poetry (1905-1974): Revisiting the “Saltimbanco” (1998); A Semiotic of Ethnicity: In (Re)cognition of the Italian/American Writer (1998); A Semiotic of Re-reading: Italo Calvino’s “Snow Job” (1999); Italian/American Short Films and Music Videos: A Semiotic Reading (2002); Una semiotica della ri-lettura (2003); and Semiotics of Re-reading (2003). His essays and articles on Italian literature and art, Italian/American studies, and popular culture have appeared in numerous journals, including L’Asino d’oro, Italica, Canadian Journal of Italian Studies, Differentia, review of italian thought, Prairie Winds, Semiotic Spectrum, Italian Culture, Campi immaginabili, The American Journal of Semiotics, The Italian Journal, Ipotesi 80, L’ANELLO che non tiene, Italiana, Gradiva, and Segni e comprensione. He is, with Ben Lawton, co-founder of the Purdue Conference on Romance Languages, Literatures & Film and co-editor of its Romance Languages Annual. His other edited volumes and special issues include, with Ron Scapp. Differentia, Review of Italian Thought (1994); with P. A. Giordano, he is a contributing co-editor of a special issue of Canadian Journal of Italian Studies (1996) and a book of essays, Beyond the Margin: Readings in Italian Americana (1998). His more recent editorial work includes a co-edited volume with Anna Camaiti Hostert, in both English and Italian, Screening Ethnicity: Cinematographic Representations of Italian Americans in the United States (2002); Scene italoamericane: rappresentazioni cinematografiche degli italiani d'America (2002). He also serves, with Giordano, as Associate Editor of Italica.
For a more detailed history
of Italian/American writers in general, please see Daniela Gioseffi’s
website at http://www.italianamericanwriters.com,
where you will also find more information on Bordighera Press.