January 19 is the birth date of the remarkable Italian American poet Pascal D’Angelo. D’Angelo emigrated from Introdacqua at the beginning of the last century with a group of local men to work as manual laborers at various locations in the United States. After a number of years during which he executed grueling and underpaid and underappreciated jobs (building roadways and railways, among others), D’Angelo became intrigued by the idea of learning English well enough to write humorous sketches for his fellow “pick and shovel” men. Having achieved some success in this endeavor, he turned his ambitions in a more lofty direction and began to study to become a Romantic poet in the tradition of Keats and Shelley–and he did it. Although his poems did not appear in a host of publications and whereas he never earned serious money for his writing and died young (in wretched poverty), nonetheless his poetry did gain some favor at the time and is recognized for its quality to this day, particularly in light of the distance he traveled, metaphorically as well as geographically, from shepherd in Abruzzo to architect of sophisticated and beautiful verse in New York City. Click here to see Bordighera Press’s tribute to D’Angelo and to hear one of his poems, “The City,” recited aloud.
As part of the Working-Class Studies Association Awards for work produced in 2020, this year’s Studs Terkel Award for Single Published Articles or Series, Broadcast Media, Multimedia, and Film in Media and Journalism goes to “Protesta Per Sacco & Vanzetti,” by the Calandra Institute’s Director of Academic and Public Programs Joseph Sciorra. A judge writes that the piece includes “extensive research into the songs related to the men’s arrest, trial and executions,” a case they compare with the death of George Floyd. “The balm for xenophobia is knowledge, but the challenge is to bring people to that table. I’m there.” Also, a judge writes that Sciorra has “preserved a vital record of American anarchist history, giving credit to the working-class reproductions of this period’s emotive sounds and sensations of this historical moment.” The essay’s “focus on Italian language items provides an explicit example of working-class experience across languages, cultures, and people.”
On Saturday, April 13, Dr. Donna Chirico, dean of York College, CUNY, on behalf of the National Organization of Italian American Women presented Dean Anthony Julian Tamburri and the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute with a Friend of NOIAW Award. In the audience were numerous luminaries including, but not limited to, New York First Lady Matilda Cuomo, Italian Consul Genral in New York Francesco Genuardi, and the two honorees for 2019 Sandra L. Depaolo and Dr. Judith A. Salerno. Incoming CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez congratulated all the honorees, via letter, saying of the Institute, “I am especially pleased to congratulate Dean Anthony and the Calandra Institute. … The Institute is well-known for its quality research and events that enrich our understanding of and appreciation for all things and people Italian–including the many Italian women and women of Italian heritage who make outsize contributions to society.”
Click here to read the Call for Papers for our 2019 conference, Eye-centricity and the Visual Cultures of Italy and Its Diaspora.