Joseph Tusiani: January 14, 1924—April 11, 2020

With the passing of Joseph Tusiani, we have lost a treasure of a man, a wonderful human being, and a great cultured individual.

Joseph came to the United States in 1947 on what was to be a temporary visit. Instead, he remained and became, over the more than seven decades he spent in New York, a noted polymath. Poet first and foremost, prose writer, essayist, translator, Joseph was the true scholar/intellectual.

The winner of the prestigious Greenwood Prize of the Poetry Society of England in 1956, he was the first “American” to be given the award. He was vice president of the Poetry Society of America and director of the Catholic Poetry Society of America. Joseph was also professor of Italian for many years at Lehman College of The City University of New York.

Through his work as translator, he introduced many Italian writers to the English-speaking world: Machiavelli, Tasso, Pulci, Boccaccio, Pascoli, and Leopardi are just some of those whose work he translated over the years. It was, in turn, his translations of Michelangelo’s poetry that earned him a visit to President Kennedy’s White House! That collection will be reissued in the University of Toronto Press’s Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library Series.

Joseph’s reach was extensive and impactful. In addition to his loving family (Michael, Bea, and their children), Joseph leaves behind a plethora of friends and former students whose lives were influenced to various degrees by his mentoring, friendship, and kindness. I feel privileged to have been among those to whom he opened his home, and along with the many things I shall remember and miss, there is also the Centerba we would share during our conversations.

Once we are free of this terrible pandemic, we shall commemorate Joseph in the manner in which he so deserves.

Devotion, Artistry, and the Cult of St. Joseph: A Call for Articles for an Edited Book

Image by Samantha Pinto

A Call for Articles for an Edited Book
Devotion, Artistry, and the Cult of St. Joseph
Edited by Leonard Norman Primiano and Joseph Sciorra

Abstracts due: July 1, 2020

Papers due: January 1, 2021

Interest in and devotion to the husband of the Virgin Mary and foster-father of Jesus—Joseph the Carpenter—has been present among Christians since the earliest centuries of the Common Era. Joseph has been deemed the patron saint of workers, sickness, and even a happy death. In places like Sicily as well as among Italian Americans devotion to St. Joseph is marked by elaborate altars (tavole) assembled on his feast day of March 19th with cornucopian displays of gastronomical delights.

We are seeking scholarly articles from a variety of disciplinary perspectives for an edited, peer-reviewed anthology on the global veneration of St. Joseph. The proposed book seeks to explore the historical and contemporary devotion, as well as intimate and institutional interactions with this wonder worker. Special emphasis will be placed on how devotees of St. Joseph have artistically and creatively expressed their familiar connection to a beloved, but still excitingly mysterious, holy figure. Our plan is to submit the manuscript in the new year to a university publisher.

We are looking for scholarly articles of original, unpublished research that encompass different disciplinary fields (e.g., biblical studies, religious studies, art history, cinema studies, literary criticism, anthropology, folklore and folklife) and that address a wide range of possible topics.


An abstract up to 500 words and a brief curriculum vitae are due by July 1, 2020. If accepted, authors should plan to send completed articles (approximately 6,000 words) by January 1, 2021.

Abstracts, final papers, and other inquiries should be emailed to Leonard Norman Primiano (, and Joseph Sciorra (

Click here to read the entire Call for Papers document, including information on deadlines and rules for submission.