Beyond our Grandmother’s Gravy

Thanks to years  long hard work and dedication, an English- language edition of the formidable anthology Italoamericana: The Literature of the Great Migration, 1880-1943 has recently been published by Fordham University Press. Originally published in Italian and edited by Francesco Durante, this landmark collection of essays, poems, stories, memoir,  history and more illuminates American society through the eyes of Italian-speaking immigrants. Rich with biographical notes and a helpful introduction, the volume deserves a place on the shelf of any serious student of Italian American literature.

Last Saturday, editor of the American edition, Robert Viscusi offered a comprehensive introduction to the volume he lovingly shepherded into print. Translator Giulia Prestia read selections from a few of the anarchist writers included in the anthology. Reviewing the work in the New York Times, Sam Roberts writes, “‘Recounting first-generation immigrant life in ”the American colony,’ the selections don’t shy away from scabrous subjects, like prejudice, exploitation of women, criminal conduct or radicalism.'” At over 900 pages, we are clearly beyond the stories we heard from our grandmother as she stirred the pot of gravy in her cramped tenement kitchen. The collection has received hearty critical praise and a starred review in Publishers Weekly, which noted, “This volume is a major work and forms an invaluable testament to a forgotten era of Italian literary history in the new world.”

If you missed the event, stop in for a signed copy of the anthology, and stay tuned for the podcast soon to be available at WPKN’s East End Ink blogspot. ( eastendink.blogspot.com)

All 1789 of Miss Emily

One woman came by train from Minnesota, on a sort of pilgrimage, she said. There were the two lovely sisters on their annual reunion. An African American man with a rich sonorous baritone; an elementary school girl from Vermont who recently learned she was a distant relation of the Belle of Amherst.  College students; grandparents; a Chinese woman struggling with pronunciation, as we all sometimes did. An odd choir of devotees, we gathered once again in the parlor of the Dickinson Homestead to read all 1789 of Miss Emily’s poems.

This year’s annual poetry marathon dovetailed with the Amherst Poetry Festival. We heard James Tate,  Doug Anderson and Linelle Moise read from their extraordinary work. Small presses and literary magazines offered their wares at the local park. A tarot reader read from an Emily-themed deck. A flotilla of small rubber duckies bobbed in a nearby fountain, each with an Emily poem tied around its neck. Amherst knows how to celebrate the literary arts and have some fun, too. All this and 500 varieties of beer down at the Moan & Dove. Don’t miss next year’s marathon reading likely in late September when Emily’s newly restored bedroom will be revealed.

Meanwhile, share your favorite Dickinson poem here and keep the marathon going. Then join us in early December for our own Dickinson celebration around her birthday. Who’ll be first to comment?

Canio’s, where good books, ideas, & community meet

CALENDAR of EVENTS

Welcome, Friends of Canio’s, to our “new”  look.  Canio’s has long been a pillar of Sag Harbor’s literary and artistic community with thousands of events over the years within our storied walls.  This October we celebrates our 34th year.  Stay tuned for details of the celebration. The summer of 2014 brings lots of exciting news.  Our calendar is full of events with local & well known writers; and other great events, including the jazz guitarist, Jack Wilkins on July 12.  Check out our listing.

Saving Bookstores, Saving Lives 

James Patterson is giving a million dollars to bookstores for specific projects. We need your help!   Please recommend Canio’s Books for a James Patterson Grant. Here’s how:  go to  jamespatterson.com/booksellers and answer a few questions. That’s it!   Let us know & we’ll keep you posted. Thanks in advance.

TEST our NEW e-book offering

Are you reading e-books on your iPad or iPhone?  If yes, please test our e-book storefront on ZOLA Books. ZOLA is an online e-book purveyor for small Indies. They are building their inventory and have signed many publishers. They don’t carry Random House-Penguin title yet; but this will change soon. In the meantime, give it a try. We’d love your feedback.  

 

It’s simple:   

go to zolabooks.com/profile/caniosbooks,

CLICK the IndiePledge button on our page.  All your purchases will be credited to Canio’s once you make the pledge.

Maryann & Kathryn are offering writing & photography workshops throughout the summer.  Please call or email for information.  Private lessons and editorial services are also available.  Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, but most importantly, come in & see us and discover why Canio’s is where good books, ideas & community meet.

Wrestling Demons

Three books just out challenge us, once again, to confront the evils of the Holocaust: Philip Schultz’ The Wherewithall, a long poem about the Shoah set in 1968 San Francisco and 1941 Poland; Peter Matthiessen’s In Paradise a novel about a group of Buddhists who sit meditation at a selection platform; and Martin Goldsmith’s Alex’s Wake: a Voyage of  Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance about his family’s odyssey on the SS St. Louis.  All three courageous authors wrestle the demons that continue to disturb us, whether second-generations directly and indirectly effected by The Shoah, or those of us simply citizens of the global village struggling to understand.

These books  deserve our attention. Reading at least would be a fine way to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day ( it begins at sunset April 27 and  concludes at sunset April 28). Which one will you read first?

Steinbeck Spirit in Sag Harbor

An afternoon of spring cleaning on a day that actually feels like the season, yielded a surprise. A charming copy of John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony surfaced like a fragile  crocus finally breaking ground. This limited edition volume, published in 1937 by Covici Friede Publishers , shows signs of age and wear, but also bears the tiny sticker from New York’s famed Holliday Bookshop. A beloved shop that specialized in British and American literary works, Holliday became an institution over its 30-plus years in business.

Later this month we welcome Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw back to Sag Harbor. She’ll speak on Saturday, April 26 at 5 p.m. as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Grapes of Wrath. Our copy of The Red Pony  is signed by Steinbeck and dedicated to his first wife Carol, (see also Shillinglaw’s Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage).

The osprey are back now reminding us of Steinbeck’s love/hate relationship with these mighty raptors. Mostly love.  See his humorous essay “My War With the Osprey” reprinted in our Sag Harbor Is: a Literary Celebration.  His “war” turns out to be a jousting match between two clever species, one human, one avian. Guess who wins?

I field a call from a friend considering entering the book business. What advice do I have? Well, considering it’s the first of the month,  April Fool’s Day in fact, and our  rent’s due, I advise extreme caution.  Yet the appearance of The Red Pony feels hopeful. Our copy’s for sale. It’s number 535 of 699, signed and printed on handmade paper. What’s it worth to you?

Big Community Hug

Canio's Cash Mob by SzokaThanks to all cash-mobbers who jammed into Canio’s last Saturday in a huge show of support for our efforts to be your community bookshop. It was a record-breaking day at the shop thanks to friends Bobbi, Eric, April, Eric and many others who contacted friends and spread the word and showed up to give us what felt like a great big hug.
We put a lot of energy into creating an interesting, thought-provoking shop filled with books worth reading, and artists and writers worth meeting. We felt affirmed in our efforts this past Saturday, when the community responded with a resounding, “Yes!” Sag Harbor’s long literary legacy continues!
And we say, “Thank you!” to all who participated. And please do come again. Canio’s is Canio’s because of this wonderful community we all live in and love, and because of people like you.

Who is that woman upstairs?

When a new boy enters her third grade class, Nora’s staid life as a quiet, dependable elementary school teacher simmers to scintillating as she falls headlong into an intense friendship with the boy’s mother, Sirena, an artist and the boy’s father, Skandar an intellectual, as well as with the boy himself. Nora’s long suppressed desires to lead her own creative life are tested against the example of Sirena with whom she comes to share a studio. In Claire Messud’s mesmerizing new novel, The Woman Upstairs, she portrays the inner world of Nora with such psychological precision and subtlety, we find we’re falling headlong too, before we even notice. Is it a cautionary tale? A wake-up call for women still struggling to name themselves artists before all others? Read it, and tell us what you think….


Canio's Books is located at 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963. You can drop an email to info@caniosbooks.com, or even check out some of our stock online. Thanks for visiting our blog!

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