Sunday, October 6, 2013


Santo Stefano di Camastra, Sicily


“Trittico” di Adele Gloria (1910-1985) Tre sfumature di verde
tre sfumature d’azzurro
tre case lontane l’una dall’altra

nel cielo
tre trimotori
tre nuvole bianche.
Tre mamme
si segnano:
pel Padre
pel Figliolo
per lo Spirito Santo.

“Triptych” by Adele Gloria[1]
Three shades of green,
three shades of azure,
three houses far from one another,
in the sky
three trijets
poke holes in
three white clouds.
Three mothers
make the sign of the cross:
for the Father
for the Little Son
for the Holy Spirit.
I love teaching college Italian in New York City, and I have recently begun researching a noblewoman of Renaissance Sicily.  For these reasons and more, I visited Sicily for the very first time in July 2013, and discovered, among other things, that walking around the medieval city of Erice feels like flying. 

Before turning to Sicilian studies, I wrote my dissertation on Cunizza da Romano, the sister of a medieval ruler of the Veneto, Ezzelino (1194-1259), said to have been a terrible tyrant.  I traveled back and forth to Venice many times and learned the city’s secrets sufficiently to know:

  • how to slip into a quiet library in high season (the Querini-Stampalia),
  • where to take a peaceful swim (the municipal pool),
  • when to catch the vaporetto to the islands (early enough to end up in Torcello before they close the church), and
  • what to order at one of the world’s most intensely delicious restaurants (Osteria la Zucca). 
I am only just starting to know the cities of Sicily in similar detail. 

In returning to Italy year after year for research and teaching, I am interested in the roles played by art in diverse local communities – including, in Sicily today, the heirs of Greeks, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Arabs, the Normans, the Hohenstaufens, the Spanish, the French, the Savoyards, the Allied Forces, and immigrants from all over the world. 
I am interested in Sicilian voices and cultural projects that could lead to pluralism and meaningful opportunity at all socio-economic levels in the island's post-crisis, increasingly global experience.

[1] Santi Correnti, Il futurismo in Sicilia e la poetessa catanese Adele Gloria (Catania: Cooperativa Universitaria Editrice Catanese di Magistero, 1990), 65, and passim.  The translation here is my own.