“Mother Tongue, an American Life in Italy” Book Presentation
Where: Italian Cultural Institute
686 Park Ave.
212-879-4242 Price: Free
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Wallis Wilde-Menozzi in conversation with Jonathan Galassi will talk about her book: Mother Tongue, an American Life in Italy–-a probing and poetic examination of language, food, faith, and family attachment in Italian life through the eyes of an American who moved to Parma with her husband and family.
Wallis Wilde-Menozzi, American poet, writer and translator, has lived in Parma, Italy since 1981. She has written three books for Farrar, Straus & Giroux. In 2020, Mother Tongue, an American Life in Italy appeared in a new edition, introduced by Patricia Hampl. Silence and Silences, an approximation of how we tell stories to ourselves, will be published in 2021. She has written a novel set in contemporary Florence, Toscanelli’s Ray published by Cadmus editions. Her essays have been translated into Italian by Moretti e Vitali. Her website: Walliswilde-menozzi.com
Jonathan Galassi is the President of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, the publisher where he has worked since 1986. He has long been an enthusiast of Italian literature, and has translated the poetry of Eugenio Montale, Giacomo Leopardi, and Primo Levi. He has published three collections of poems and a novel, Muse, which was translated by Guanda in 2016.
In the 1980s, the American writer Wallis Wilde-Menozzi moved permanently with her Italian husband and her daughter to Parma, a sophisticated city in northern Italy, where he became a professor of biology. Her search for rootedness in the city that was to be her home introduced her to complexities in her identity as she migrated into another language and looked for links beyond the joys of Verdi, Correggio, and Parmesan cheese, which visitors have rightly extolled for centuries. The local resistance to change perceived as individualistic led Wilde-Menozzi to explore the pull and challenge of difference and discover the backbone she needed for artistic freedom.
In Mother Tongue, Wilde-Menozzi offers stories of far-sighted lives, remarkable Parma men and remarkable women, including the Renaissance abbess Giovanna Piacenza, the fighting Donella Rossi Sanvitale, and her own indefatigable mother-in-law. Framed with a new introduction by the author, and a new foreword by Patricia Hampl, this classic on diversity and tolerance, family, faith, and food in Italy and the United States is at once timeless and timely, a “large, beautiful window into the intelligent, literate, reflective life of Italy” (Shirley Hazzard).Buy tickets/get more info now