During the Second World War, the US government forced hundreds of Italians living in Northern California to relocate away from their coastal communities and to relinquish their fishing boats. Humiliated, some of those Italians abandoned their traditions in order to Americanize because they never wanted to be considered enemy outsiders again. Others, however, discovered deeper and stronger bonds to Italy. Based on historical fact and family fiction, Alex’s short story “La Scarlettina” is one woman’s story during that time. “La Scarlettina,” appeared in the anthology, Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War, edited by MariJo Moore (Fulcrum, 2008).
From “La Scarlettina”:
“When government agents had come for Tano one morning in early January, they stated no charges. They simply hustled his barrel-chested frame into the back of their black Oldsmobile and sped off. Later, agents came to interrogate Grace, and they told her that they knew her husband had supported Mussolini and had sent money to Italy for many years. Grace laughed out loud when the agents said this. One agent, his crystalline blue eyes wide, told Grace she ought not be so nervy. Grace said, ‘Well, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. My husband hates Italy.’”
This is a powerful and unforgettable reading experience, one of the few contemporary anthologies of women poets writing freely about war and its consequences. Linda Hogan, Demetria Martinez, Rochelle Ratner, Paula Gunn Allen, and dozens of others confront the age-old forces of destruction with poetry and prose that ultimately deliver a sense of hope. The writing covers wars spanning the globe and crossing generations. Given the time we live in, this book is essential and will leave its mark on the reader.
–The Bloomsbury Review (May/June/July 2009)
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