Frank Polizzi’s collection of poetry A New Life with Bianca (Bordighera Press, New York, 2015) is a complex modern love story reflected through many spectrums of life. The poet like many of us suffers from the pangs of isolation, regret and listlessness, his journey taking us through towards death and beyond.
Bianca is very much a Dantean Beatrice or Petrarchan Laura, but the obsession with this ideal woman is less idealistic, almost Machiavellian. The narrator wallows in despair when Bianca marries another and almost rejoices when she becomes a widow, slyly re inserting himself in her life, only to be robbed of her by illness, old age and death.
Life with Bianca is a wonderful evolutionary poetic hybrid, quoting the sonnet form with a modern perspective, then Polizzi looks through a crystal of Italian and Sicilian language to create a spectacular rainbow giving the poetry a new spectrum of colours.
For someone who knows English, Italian and Sicilian reading the poetry in these different translations creates an added depth to the journey which is not always perfect but always honest. The same can be said for the engravings by Michael McCurdy, the gritty images accompany the poems like milestones or epitaphs recording the pilgrimage.
The afterword essay by academic Anthony Di Renzo is a useful way to put Polizzi’s work into context with wonderful insights into the history of the sonnet and the Sicilian school which predates Dante.
It is amazing to see such tenacious publications coming out of Italo American publishing houses such as Boridghera Press. Immigrant Diasporas around the world are so rich and it is a delight to see a pearl like A New Life with Bianca.
Rochelle Del Borrello
Click here for a detailed interview with Frank Polizzi and his fascinating journal Feile Festa.