Reale Publishes Poetry Collection on the Sicilian-American Immigrant Experience

By Purnell T. Cropper | January 27, 2015

Michelle Reale ’99M, assistant professor, Library, has just released a collection of prose poetry titled The Legacy of the Sidelong Glance: Elegies through Aldrich Press. This collection explicates the rough terrain of the Sicilian-American immigrant experience in a place in which immigrants were treated with derision and exclusion. The poems are based on the lives’ of Reale’s paternal grandparents and tell a story of abuse, subjugation, and grief, as well as the possible redemption of memory when considering these experiences within the context of a particular time and place.

In addition to conducting research in Sicily on the lives of African refugees in Sicily, Reale also is researching the wave of immigration and collecting the oral histories of her Italian-American community in Ambler, Pa.

Olivia Kate Cerrone, Italian-American novelist and recipient of the Distinguished Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, describes the collection thus: “Burned free of sentimentality, this collection pushes against the mindless stereotypes that stunt the mainstream image of Italian American women, and instead offers a fresh, honest portrayal of a life forged by oppression and survival.”

This is Reale’s sixth collection of poetry.