By Tiziano Thomas Dossena
There are numerous volumes that have been published on the tragedy of 9/11; some excellent and inspirational, others just manipulative. The topic of 9/11 is indisputably poignant and current. I was recently honored by a request to write a preface for the poetry book titled “The Island of Tears”. The author, Giulia Poli Disanto, wrote these philosophical and insightful verses as a tribute to the fallen victims and heroes of that catastrophic day.
The true spirit of the poet has taken up this significant and historical event and embraced it. Her love for New York City and all it symbolizes, this enchanted metropolis that “resurrected from the ashes as the mythic Phoenix”, is genuine and concrete.
The book was originally written in Italian and it is published by Ideapress, a Brooklyn publisher, in both languages, face to face. The advantage naturally will go to the readers who understand a bit of that language, giving them the opportunity to savor even more the verses in the original version.
Although the poet’s ancestry is in Italy, in the southern region of Apulia, her heart is American, and she feels she belongs among the “plurality of this wonderful city which has been scarred for life by the events of that day”. The many articles that have appeared on L’Idea Magazine, a Brooklyn quarterly, have confirmed her connection to New York City, as well as her understanding of the readers’ desires; the book’s lyrics substantiate her love for this fantastic city.
In The Island of Tears, the reader can experience the raw emotions that every New Yorker has suffered in those days, the awful sensation of disbelief that had struck the hard-working people from this marvelous city admired for its resilience all over the world, the moments of fear, surprise, dread, bewilderment, worry, dismay, which have been associated with this horrifying and unanticipated attack on the Western World and what it stood for.
The delicate verses and the gentle soul of Giulia Poli Disanto sort out all these feelings for the reader. The author cannot be accused of attempting to trivialize the moment or to use images that could disturb us. Her verses are genuine, and so is her message. Her interests and worries are for the everyday man who has endured, in the twinkling of an eye, the devastation of an undeclared and cruel conflict.
Her poetry is appreciably charged with “imagery of love, friendship, hope, and understanding, and observations of deep sensitivity and perception, all blended in free-flowing verses of a stunning beauty and hermetic might”. Her message is more than evident and it is worthy of the appreciation of the reader as much as her poetry does.
The wonderful photographs by Daniel Portalatin have their own lyrical value and definitely complement and enrich ever more the book.
The introduction is a personal chronicle of that day by Albert Hickey, an ex-detective who lived that day and the aftermath as a first responder. It is well written and it has an undisputable flavor of immediacy and reality; a tinge of melancholy is present throughout its fast-paced sentences, but the emphasis is always on hope and the preservation of the memories of that day. Overall, the Island of Tears (L’Isola delle Lacrime) is a book that should be read and cherished by anyone who remembers that tragic day.