IT and US: Ovunque Siamo Creates Community for Italian American Writers

Apr 14, 2018 21

Necessity really is the mother of invention.  For years I bemoaned the lack of literary venues for Italian-American writers.   I strongly identify with my Italian-American heritage and am a writer - a poet specifically - so it naturally followed that I would desire to not only be able to submit to a publication or publications dedicated to IA writing, but I also desperately wanted to read other IA writers.  I longed for the kind of writing community.  I realized that if I wanted an IA literary magazine, I would have to create one myself. 

And so, in the summer of 2017, I made a leap and created Ovunque Siamo: New Italian-American Writing, created expressly for the Italian-American writing community, wherever we may find ourselves in the world!   What I had at my disposal was a keen desire to reach out and to create a community.  And that desire was stronger than any obstacles that stood in my way: lack of any kind of funding, a seemingly lack of time, and, at least initially, no one to help.  I did it anyway.  I created the platform and then began to spread the word by word of mouth and social media.   I asked a good friend Chad Frame, (a wonderful poet) a non-Italian as it turns out, to be my poetry editor (I would take care of all other submissions) and the submissions began to roll in.  It was an amazing feeling to see how people responded and so very much wanted to be part of this humble endeavor. 

Eventually, I brought on a Books Review editor (and amazing IA writer) and a cadre of amazing writers who agreed to write book reviews: Jennifer Martelli, Theodora Patrona, George DeStefano, and Mark Spano. As an extra touch, we have an awesome in-house artist, Pat Singer (@psingerart), who interprets two selected pieces per issue and creates beautiful and vivid illustrations to be published with the pieces. 

We welcome submissions of art, poetry, non-fiction, memoir, think pieces, fiction (both short and long) and opinion pieces. To that end we are proud to say that we have published both writers well known, and those whom we consider “emerging” ---and everyone in between!   However, the writing and the art need to show evidence of craft—in other words, it must be good.  We never like to reject a submission---after all, we are writers ourselves, but if we do, we are willing to work with the author to improve the piece for future consideration.  Work submitted need not have an Italian-American theme, though writers must be Italian-American.

The opportunity to create a forum for Italian-American writers, to be able to create both an online community and to curate writers of Italian-American Heritage is truly an honor and one that I take seriously!  With hard work and the support of Italian-American writers far and wide we will grow---we need to read and support one another for that to happen.  Our voices are important ones and it is essential to leave a trace.

You can access Ovunque Siamo: New Italian-American Writing online at: https://ovunquesiamoweb.wordpress.com

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