Below is a great poem, "la bella figura" by Vittoria, as well as ordering information about her new book of poetry, Not Just a Personal Ad, published by Guernica Editions.
"Not Just A Personal Ad by Vittoria Repetto: Poems of intense sensibility and gorgeous imagery are a rarity these days; but this book of verse by a distinctly working class, distinctly lesbian, and distinctly Italian American voice is a must for all readers of good poetry."
Rigoberto Gonzalez - On My Nightstand - Lambda Book Report - Fall 2006
la bella figura*
la bella figura
dad believed in it
after mama died
he tried to dress me
no s. klein, gimbels or macy's
lord & taylor's
growing up mid 1960s
off bleecker st.
it was the army-navy store
all i wanted was a pair of levi's
had to buy it myself
out of ten dollars allowance
as soon as the blue jeans got comfortable
soft and faded
i'd come home
open my closet
they'd be gone
happened every three months
his daughter shouldn't look like
a figlia di nessuno
i had to save up
not buy school lunch
nothing in the fridge
i ate pasta heros for weeks
now when i go for sunday dinner
i wear blue jeans
if they're ripped
*la bella figura - the concept of making a good appearance
This collection of poems manifests a genuine sensibility interacting with a striking poetic gift. The meld is seamless. Repetto uses contemporary American idiom with a skill that approximates Dante's with the Tuscan dialect. Her precise, compact, colloquial cadences in this collection of 49 poems assemble the reality of growing up lesbian Italian American in lower Manhattan, loving and losing a mother, hating and reconciling with a father. Running, stumbling, recovering, her lines replicate the struggle between the contradictions of love and desire, work and leisure, pride and passion. No holds barred erotic episodes are unforgettably incised. Artlessness is achieved with great art.
Finally, Repetto, without deprecating her innate butchness, emerges as a transcendently feminine person who has stitched together in these poems an entrancing crazy quilt that unabashedly reveals the here and now of human life, New York City edition. While much of the subject matter of Not Just A Personal Ad will have a special relevance for both Italian Americans and gays and lesbians, its audience is unlimited.
To order Not Just a Personal Ad:
Guernica Editions, Inc
ISBN 1-55071-244-6/ 978-1-55071-244-5 - 84 pages $13 U.S.A. / $15 Canada
McNally Robinson NYC
Toronto Women's Bookstore
Barnes & Noble.com
or have your local independent bookstore order it!
Vittoria Repetto has been published in Mudfish, Voices in Italian Americana, Rattle, Lips, The Paterson Literary Review, Italian Americana, Unsettling American: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (Penguin), Identity Lessons: Learning American Style (Penguin), The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food & Culture (Feminist Press), and Harrington Lesbian Fiction Quarterly among others. Her poems have been chosen as "Editor's Choice" in the Paterson Literary Review for four times in a row since 2003.
Vittoria Repetto is the vice president of the Italian American Writers Association. She was a judge in the 2005 Publishing Triangle's Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry & Thomas Gunn Award for Gay Poetry and she has been hosting the Women's Poetry Jam at Bluestockings Bookstore for the last seven years.
For further information: contact Vittoria Repetto at Vittoriar@aol.com