Friday, May 20

Month: January 2022

Essays, In Italiano

Being a Nonno

by Tony Del PlatoTranslated into Italian by Danielle Vestita “By each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”  ― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas I love being a Nonno. I have enough good health to enjoy my three grandchildren. Sagan Alexander Del Plato will be 4 February 14, this year; Conor Ryan Kidney (or KaNAH in Brooklynese) is 4 ½, born May 4; and Orianne Olivia Del Plato, approaching 6, March 9. They bring me laughter and out-of-breath moments. They are sunshine with bursts of thunder and lightning. The apples of my eye. The sweetest, most loving little people. I rejoice to their spontaneous: I love you Nonno. When meeting Sagan and Orianne at their house, Sagan is hopping up and down shouting “Hi Nonno!” Orianne is coy with my arrival. And as soon as I’m out o...
Bella Figura: On Italian American Identity

Benedicaria – The Blessing Way of Southern Italian Folk Medicine

by Gail Faith Edwards Editor’s note: This article republished by permission from gailfaithedwards.com In the remote mountain villages of Southern Italia, like ours, the old ways still thrive. We are a tribal culture, an indigenous people, descendants of the ancient Lucana Tribe; we are remembered as the People of the Sacred Wood, of the White Light. Our animal totems are the wolf and the deer. Our sacred traditions have been passed along orally, for many thousands of years. We speak a variation of the Neapolitan dialect, use hand signals and glances, wear protective charms and amulets, and recite secret prayers that have been handed down through our family lines for generations. We pray with a string of beads called a rosary. We light candles when making offerings, petit...
History

Triangle Fire

The Triangle Fire Comes Full Circle for Edvige Giunta An interview with writer, editor and activist, Edvige Giunta by Marci Merola Edvige Giunta works tirelessly to keep the dead alive. It happens during her memoir writing workshops, like a recent one entitled “Stories of Our Dead,” and through her day job as Professor of English at New Jersey City University, where such stories are both read and written. It’s obvious when she’s writing the names of the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in chalk in front of their homes on the anniversary of the tragedy (a newish tradition started by Ruth Sergel that she carries forth) or observing the impact that it has on students of her Triangle fire class. Now, in a new book co-edited with Mary Anne Trasciatti, Talking to the Gir...
Opinion

Greetings from the Editorial Collective

A photo from the remarkable Shoebox Negatives collection, profiled in this issue of Pummarola. ©2022 JTRP/Shoebox Negatives Happy New Year to all and welcome to the second issue of Pummarola! We are excited to share with you some extraordinary new work from our earlier contributors, as well as from multiple new voices. From one coast to the other, Italian Americans and allied supporters are producing meaningful, creative and intriguing work that addresses a wide range of subject matter of significant value to the Italian diaspora in the U.S. and beyond. We are very pleased to share the fruits of their labors with you.   So much has happened since our relaunch of Pummarola in October 2021 during the week of Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day. Pummarola has attracted visito...
A More Useful Public History: An Interview with Jerry Wilson
History

A More Useful Public History: An Interview with Jerry Wilson

by Charles Tocci Jerry Wilson The movement to remove Columbus statues has much to learn from the long history of Black activism and its efforts to create a more truthful and inclusive public history. While the removal of Confederate monuments became a flashpoint during the summer of 2020, Black organizers had focused their efforts on these statues for over a century. Their experiences offer a deep catalog of strategies and insights from which to glean. For over a century, Silent Sam, a statue of a Confederate soldier, had stood watch over the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Campus. It was erected in 1913 with support from the United Daughters of the Confederacy and was dedicated to the “young student soldiers who went out from this grand old University to battle...
Bella Figura: On Italian American Identity

Who’s Allowed in the “Melting Pot?”: The Impact of Whiteness on the Assimilation of Italian Identities

by Frances Bartolutti (They/She) It’s fascinating how literally wearing your culture on your sleeve for a day can open up a can of worms you’ve never considered. This fall, the school where I work on the West Side of Chicago had a Cultural Heritage spirit day for our Homecoming week. As a teacher, I try to participate in all the school-wide activities I can, so I wanted to go all out for Cultural Heritage day. I dug my Italian flag out of the closet and wore it as a cape for the entire day. During my 3rd period class, one of my students told me that I was the first Italian person he’d ever met. While I seriously doubt that since I know at least three other Italian-American staff members at North-Grand, his statement stuck with me, and not for the reasons you might suspect. His labe...
Bella Figura: On Italian American Identity

Benedicaria – The Blessing Way of Southern Italian Folk Medicine, Part 1 

by Gail Faith Edwards Republished with permission from gailfaithedwards.com. In the remote mountain villages of Southern Italia, like ours, the old ways still thrive. We are a tribal culture, an indigenous people, descendants of the ancient Lucana Tribe; we are remembered as the People of the Sacred Wood, of the White Light. Our animal totems are the wolf and the deer. Our sacred traditions have been passed along orally, for many thousands of years. We speak a variation of the Neapolitan dialect, use hand signals and glances, wear protective charms and amulets, and recite secret prayers that have been handed down through our family lines for generations. We pray with a string of beads called a rosary. We light candles when making offerings, petitions, prayers and blessings. We ...
Fiction

Transfiguration

by Marianne Leone Downtown Crossing, Boston; unknown photographer Rita and Christina had lunch at the place that served the ninety-nine cent clam dinners across from Filene’s Basement. Mother and daughter sat facing each other like strangers forced to share a booth during the lunchtime rush and, like strangers, said little besides pass the salt, or hand me a napkin. It was the first time they had ever eaten in a restaurant alone together. They were calmed by the bustle of the lunchtime crowd, the clink of china, the indifferent voices of secretaries and shoppers that swaddled them. Rita had come on the subway, all the way into town, to see Christina’s apartment for herself, and to gauge how much her changeling daughter had changed in the month since she had packed her bags and left ...
American Made
Photography

American Made

Congratulations to Chicago native Lisa Vinaccia for being named NOLA Photo Guild Photographer of the Year for her New Orleans imagery. Lisa has made a creative practice of documenting her journeys back and forth between Chicago and New Orleans, often pausing in Clarksdale, Mississippi as a stop along the way and recording that small city as well. Here is a tiny sample of her work in these three iconic American places. To see more of Lisa's photos, follow her on Instagram at Dayzifyadonola, Clarksdalelove and Chicagolandfotos. The Guild's Instagram page is nolaphotoguild.  Previous Next
Essays

The Shoebox Negatives

The Shoebox Negatives: A Trove Rediscovered by Joan Tortorici RuppertMy dad died in 1964 when he was 43 and my mom was 38 years old. Over the decades that followed, my mom lived in apartments where space was limited and storage was highly prized. Only the most important objects survived brutal rounds of downsizing. That’s why I was baffled when, about 30 years ago, my mom reached into the closet of her studio apartment, took down a shoebox stuffed with hundreds of photo negatives and handed it to me. Everybody keeps photo albums. But negatives? “Your dad took these,” she explained. She told me he developed the film himself and that he had been an avid hobbyist.What prompted this unexpected conversation was my mentioning that I was taking a darkroom class. Upon opening up the shoebox, I...