Issue #30, 2006

Our Roots are Deep with Passion: Essays by Italian American Writers

In the twenty-one nonfiction narratives anthologized in Our Roots are Deep with Passion, established and emerging writers reflect on the ways their lives have been accented with uniquely Italian American flavors. The pieces are as varied as their authors, but all explore the distinctive intersection of language, tradition, cuisine, and culture that characterize the diverse experience of Americans of Italian heritage. Creative Nonfiction Editor Lee Gutkind sums it up when he writes, "this collection is simultaneously sweet and explosive and, perhaps because of that, irrepressibly inspiring."

Table of Contents

Foreword Joe Mantegna
Introduction: The Evolution of an Anthology and the Living Tissue of Passions Lee Gutkind ... read more
'Mbriago Louise DeSalvo
Words and Rags Joanna Clapps Herman
The Innocent Lambs Laura Valeri
The Walls of Gela Edvige Giunta
I Denti Famiglia Phyllis Capello
Sacrifice Maria Laurino
My Father's Music Ned Balbo
Washington Square Carol Bonomo Albright
The Names of Horses Annie Rachele Lanzillotto
Dagos in Mayberry Peter Selgin
I Heard You the First Time, Daddy Rita Ciresi
Bitter Hebs? Sandra M. Gilbert
St. Sebastian in Boston Randy-Michael Testa
Daughters of Mongrassano Jeanna Lucci Canapari
Allium Longicuspis Stephanie Susnjara
Jealousy, or The Autobiography of an Italian Woman Gina Barreca
Il Pasto Che Parla Valerie K. Waldrop
Selling the House Marianna De Marco Torgovnick
Italian American: The Next Generation Christine Palamidessi Moore
Mama, Che Cosa Vuoi Che Faccio? James Vescovi
Italian Bride Mary Beth Caschetta


Ned Balbo

Ned Balbo received the Ernest Sandeen poetry award for his second collection, Lives of the Sleepers. He is the recipient of grants in... read more

Gina Barreca

Gina Barreca is a professor of English at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of Babes in Boyland, They Used to Call Me Snow... read more

Carol Bonomo Albright

Carol Bonomo Albright, the editor of Italian Americana, teaches Italian-American Studies at Harvard University Extension School. She has... read more

Jeanna Lucci Canapari

Jeanna Lucci Canapari is currently at work on a collection of essays on Italian American culture and identity. A graduate of Columbia... read more

Phyllis Capello

Phyllis Capello is a writer and musician. She is a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in fiction, and her work has been published in... read more

Mary Beth Caschetta

Mary Beth Caschetta is the author of the short story collection Lucy on the West Coast. The recipient of the 2004 Sherwood Anderson Fiction... read more

Rita Ciresi

Rita Ciresi is the author of five award-winning novels and short story collections including Pink Slip and Sometimes I Dream in Italian.... read more

Marianna De Marco Torgovnick

Marianna De Marco Torgovnick is Professor of English at Duke University and Director of Duke in New York in the Arts and Media. She is the... read more

Louise DeSalvo

Louise DeSalvo, winner of the Laura Pizer Prize in Creative Nonfiction, is professor of English and Jenny Hunter Endowed Scholar for... read more

Edvige Giunta

Edvige Giunta is the author of Writing with an Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Authors and co-editor of The Milk of Almonds:... read more

Sandra M. Gilbert

Sandra M. Gilbert has published seven books of poems, most recently Belongings, a number of books of criticism and anthologies, and a... read more

Lee Gutkind

Lee Gutkind, recognized by Vanity Fair as “the Godfather behind creative nonfiction,” is the founder and editor of Creative... read more

Joanna Clapps Herman

Joanna Clapps Herman has published in Massachusetts Review, Kalliope, Crescent Review, Paterson Literary Review, Inkwell, Earth's Daughters... read more

Annie Rachele Lanzillotto

Annie Rachelle Lanzillotto is a writer and performance artist of Barese heritage and a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation's Next... read more

Maria Laurino

Maria Laurino is the author of Were You Always an Italian?: Ancestors and Other Icons of Italian America. A former chief speechwriter to... read more

Joe Mantegna

Joe Mantegna is a world-class entertainer and a loving, devoted husband and father. Joe’s acting credits are long and impressive,... read more

Christine Palamidessi Moore

Christine Palamidessi Moore writes reviews, articles and stories. Her novel The Virgin Knows was published by St. Martin's Press. She... read more

Peter Selgin

Peter Selgin's work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Missouri Review, the Literary Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Sun, Northwest... read more

Stephanie Susnjara

Stephanie Susnjara is a freelance writer living in Katonah, N.Y., and a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Nonfiction at Goucher... read more

Randy-Michael Testa

Randy-Michael Testa is a teacher, writer and editor living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Growing up near Akron, Ohio, Testa was both a... read more

Laura Valeri

Laura Valeri is the author of The Kind of Things Saints Do, winner of the John Simmons and John Gardner Awards. She lives in Savannah,... read more

James Vescovi

James Vescovi's unpublished collection of stories, from which this essay is excerpted, is called Eat Now; Talk Later. He lives in New York... read more

Valerie K. Waldrop

Valerie K. Waldrop is working toward her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Western Michigan University. This is her first published story. She... read more