Writing Beyond History.
An Anthology of Prose and Poetry
Introduction ‑ Journey Beyond
Italy and traced a path to Canada for others to follow. A father or grandmother
or great-uncleů alone or with siblings and parents. Their descendants grew up
thousands of kilometres away, but learned about that small town or village back
home. They were encouraged to love it or influenced to hate it. Some were kept
in the dark, links severed by their parents' silence.
later, that path was travelled in reverse by a group of Canadian women and men
who share the love of writing and a connection to Italy. Canadian writers of
Italian descent came together in the ancient city of Udine in May 2004. They
shared their stories and insights with warm and receptive audiences. The
writers drew from their collective ideas in an attempt to answer questions born
out of a need for transition. Going back has allowed them to move forward as
Beyond History is
the literary expression of thirty contributors, including award-winning poets
Carmine Starnino and Mary di Michele, and prose writers Caterina Edwards, Genni
Gunn and Peter Oliva (whose first published poems appear in this volume). Most
of the contributions are in English, but a few writers share their stories in
Italian. Governor General Award winner Fulvio Caccia contributes poetry in
the genre ? short story, essay, poetry, memoir ? or the language they choose to
express themselves in, the familiar comes through in their very diverse tales.
In "Ritorno a Padova," Elettra Bedon describes her voyage in moving
poetic prose. Gianna Patriarca's verse takes us to Rovereto and Piossasco,
while Gil Fagiani's images evoke Naples and Rome. In her dreamy poetry, Sonia
Di Placido examines the sacredness of our spiritual space.
towards the making of this anthology gave us an opportunity to interpret our
overlapping emotions for the home of our ancestors and to find creative and
intellectual nourishment. Italy is no longer our physical home ? if ever it was
? but it remains our cultural home and a source of inspiration.
the path together, we went beyond time and place to experience a cultural
communion: we sought inspiration and, in so doing, we inspired. The voyage may
have rekindled forgotten emotions, raised questions or provided answers. Our
communal journey did not end in Udine, nor does it end with this book. ChissÓů
it will certainly lead to other projects as well as professional
relationships and life-long friendships.
Udine, Ralph Alfonso joined Anna Carlevaris and her group of visual artists in
Casacalenda and was inspired to write "Buonasera da Campobasso." Jim
Zucchero combined the professional with the familial: he wrote about his
family's Italian adventure in "Venetian Scene." In her personal
essay, Canadian-born Deborah Saidero shares the emotional struggle she
experienced as an adolescent when her family moved back to Italy.
Scambray takes his students to Italy every January (it's a course requirement).
His father has never shown any interest in Ken's frequent visits across the
Atlantic. Italy is the land of pain and resentment for Ken's father (see
"La Storia Nascosta," Accenti Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3,
2003). Many of us can identify with conflicting emotions towards Italy, as does
Joseph Pivato in "Nice Place to Visit But ů"
for this cultural writing project was planted in 2000 when I asked Anna Pia De
Luca, professor of Canadian literature in Udine, to host the tenth biennial conference
of the AICW. Four years later, the event was held at the Canadian Cultural
Centre at the University of Udine. This year, Writing Beyond History is
being launched at the Eighth Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival ?
The City of Words ? in Montreal, designated by UNESCO as the world book capital
ancestors have taught us that willpower is life; there is hope in every
struggle. As intellectuals, as educated women and men who have straddled both
worlds, our task and responsibility is to write. Our struggle is to be
acknowledged and respected. For many, if not most, writing is not the main
source of income and, thus, we are all too familiar with the question "Why
keep writing if it doesn't pay the bills?" Novelist Marisa De Franceschi
insists that she "cannot not write." Darlene Madott ? attorney
by day and short-story writer by night ? responds, "It is part of my
is a snapshot of a literary moment in time: it is our journey back in order to
move forward. Writing Beyond History records our cultural identity in
the making and contributes to our literary history.