The Westchester Italian Cultural Center preserves, promotes and celebrates the rich heritage of classic and contemporary Italian culture by encouraging an appreciation of the Italian language, arts and letters, history, cuisine and commerce through educational programs, exhibits and events.
2014 Fall Program
Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 7:00pm
This evening is a celebration of the life and the work of Joseph Tusiani. A writer bridging two worlds, Joseph Tusiani is a widely cultured scholar who speaks and writes in four languages. With an introduction by Professor Anthony Tamburri, the evening will consist of a screening of the documentary by Sabrina Digregorio, titled “Finding Joseph Tusiani: The Poet of Two Lands”.
Joseph Tusiani was born in San Marco in Lamis in the Gargano Mountains of Apulia, Italy, on January 14, 1924. He writes in Italian, Latin, English, and his native Gargano dialect. Classical scholars consider him the greatest living Neo-Latin poet. In 1954, The New York Times published the news that the Poetry Society of England bestowed Joseph Tusiani with the prestigious Greenwood Prize, marking the first time it was awarded to an American. The recognition greatly enhanced the young professor’s reputation as a poet. He continued to write and publish his poetry in leading American and European newspapers, journals, and magazines. In 1963, he was chosen to participate in a project called Poetry in Crystal. The Steuben Glass Company had invited its leading sculptors to interpret in crystal the poems of America’s 31 best-known poets of the time. Tusiani’s poem, Standstill, was interpreted by George Thompson. In the same year, President Kennedy invited Tusiani to tape his poetry for the audio archives of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., and he subsequently won the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award for If Gold Should Rust, a play in verse. Tusiani’s English poems are collected in a volume titled, Collected Poems: 1983-2004. He has also published two novels, one in Italian and one in English, and has authored seven volumes of poetry in his Apulian dialect. After his retirement from teaching, he wrote and published his autobiographical trilogy. Tusiani has spent a large part of his time translating poetry and literary pieces. Among the Italian classics he has made known to the world are; The Complete Poems of Michelangelo, Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, and Luigi Pulci’s 15th century epic poem, Morgante, never before translated. In 2007, he was presented with the Key to the City of Florence for his work in bringing Italian poetry to the reading public both in the Unites States and Italy. An anthology of selected poems, Ninety Poems, was published for his 90th birthday. Tusiani’s contribution to Italian poetry is indeed vast, as twenty doctoral dissertations about him and his innumerable honors attest.
Joining us in the celebration of the man who, more than any other poet and translator, has brought Italian classics into the English-speaking world is Joseph Tusiani himself and other distinguished guests from the Italian American community: Professor Anthony Tamburri, Ph.D., Dean of the Calandra Institute, Mario Fratti, Professor Emeritus of Italian literature and an internationally acclaimed playwright and drama critic, and Robert Viscusi Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn College and a well-known novelist and literary critic. A reception with our distinguished guests will conclude the event.
Members $20, Non-Members $25