Bordighera Press. Italian American Literature in the US
i-Italy met with the Dean of the John D. Calandra Institute, professor Anthony Julian Tamburri, one of the three founders of Bordighera Press, the Italian/American publishing house that specializes in projects dealing with the culture of Italy and that of the Italians in America.
When was Bordighera Press born?
Bordighera Press was born in 1989 because we had just finished putting together an anthology that’s entitled “From the Margin, Writings in Italian Americana”, published in 1991 and what we found was that we had over a thousand pages of good literature by Italian Americans, we decided we would in one way, shape or form, create a journal and we did, we created VIA (Voices in Italian Americana), because the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation of the time liked the idea of the journal and they gave us a Sea Grant and we founded the Journal. The journal has been in existence since 1990. In 1993 somebody came to us with a long poem and we had just put a limit on our poetry and the journal, set to only 5 pages. This poem would have been about 15 pages, we really wanted to publish the poem but we didn’t want to offend our big poet and there were people like John Tagliabue, Lewis Turco, so we decided that we would publish this long poem as a chapbook, we wanted to give the series a name, so we called it VIA Folios, in the latin sense of the word.
From there, our series was born and we’ve done 70 books in the VIA Folios series. Early next year we’re going to publish Pane Amaro by Elena Giannini Belotti and Terroni by Pino Aprile. We have another journal, it appears occasionally and it’s called Italiana and it’s for Italian studies mostly.
What can you tell us about the prize?
The Bordighera Poetry Prize is founded very generously by the Sonia Raiziss-Giop Foundation, it’s a charitable trust that is run by Alfredo Giop de Palchi and it was founded and organized by Daniela Gioseffi and she still does it for us. The poetry is originally in English, the winner translates the poems into Italian and the book is published. The winner gets a thousand dollars, the translator gets a thousand dollars and we publish the book. We have fourteen winners so far, thirteen published.
And now a curiosity, why the name Bordighera?
There were three of us who run the press, Fred Gardaphé, Paolo Giordano and myself. Paolo Giordano was born in Bordighera and he came here when he was 10 years old. When he was in High School, Paolo’s father decided that he had to go to Italy to visit la ‘nonna’. So he did, then I went one summer when he was there and I’ve gone back numerous times, so we wanted something different for our press. The three of us sat down, we each wrote a name secretly and Paolo and I had Bordighera. Some people at the beginning gave us a hard time, they said it wasn’t a serious name, when instead our choice was serious.
At the time nobody was publishing Italian American studies, we were just doing something different.
Bordighera Poetry Prize
November 3, 2011 - 6.00 p.m.
Location: John D. Calandra Italian American Institute
Featuring 2011 winner John Ortenzio Bargowski and 2010 winner Matthew Cariello
Hosted by Daniela Gioseffi (Founding Coordinator) and Alfredo de Palchi (Trustee, Sonia Raiziss-Giop Foundation). Followed by a wine and refreshments reception.