by Carol Bonomo Albright and Joanna Clapps Herman
Wild Dreams offers the very best from those pages: sixty-three pieces- fiction, memoir, poetry, story, and interview- that range widely in style and sentiment, tracing the arc of an immigrant culture's coming of age in America. What stories do Italian Americans tell about themselves? How do some of America's best writers deal with complicated questions of identity in their art?
Organized by provocative themes- Ancestors, The Sacred and the Profane, Love and Anger, Birth and Death, Art and Self- the selections document the evolution of Italian-American literature. From John Fante's- My Father's God,- his classic story of religious subversion and memoirs by Dennis Barone and Jerre Mangione to a brace of poets, selected by Dana Gioia and Michael Palma, ranging from John Ciardi, Jay Parini, and Mary Jo Salter to George Guida and Rachel Guido de Vries.
There are also stories alive with the Italian folk tradition (Tony Ardizzone and Louisa Ermelino), and others sleekly experimental (Mary Caponegro, Rosalind Palermo Stevenson). Other pieces- including an unforgettable interview with Camille Paglia- are Italian-American takes on the culture at large.