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Conflicted Excitement by LindaAnn Loschiavo
LindaAnn LoSchiavo’s debut collection is an Italian memoir about coming to America. It traces the first footsteps to a country that would become home. The sense of belonging proved to be elusive for her immigrant grandparents.
“Fit in!” advised her husband. Neither did,
Unnoticed by America’s embrace.
Setting up roots would be reflected in the efforts of her grandfather, affectionately called “il nonno mio”, growing fig trees in Brooklyn. In fact the poems about her grandparents endearingly anchor this collection.
Her poems—peopled by her grandparents, parents, her sister, her relatives, her friends–engage us in an effusive warp of story-telling. Sometimes one gets the feeling of being wrapped in a cocoon of Italian babble but thankfully there’re translations to get us through them. For of course one brings one’s own language along with oneself, and LindaAnn’s poems reflect that. We also learn where she got her gift of narrative from…her father! (See “The Wizard of Words”).
Along with her native language, religion is weaved through her personal rite of passage, enabling her to cope with death and the question of eternity.
Where Jesus, spotless, guiltless, is then beaten
For others’ sins returns me to my oyster
Shell, hard home where I dwell with grains of sand,
Intruders I coat with a glaze to make their
Existence not so scratchy, making it
All easier to slip around till I’m good
And ready for that opening up.
–A Little Choir Girl at Passiontide
For us then, the poems are secret musings of oneself, but it is when she makes leaps towards the sublime that “Like death’s jewels, feathers fell from pelicans.” (“Aboard S.S. Guiseppe Verdi”).