This multi-genre collection explores and unravels the complexities of "home" as a physical and cultural space, and as a contested condition of being. Drawing on personal experience as well as on the stories of ancestors, Luisa Giulianetti shares the lives of characters mired in loss and grief, those with their feet in two worlds, and others who try-however imperfectly-to fashion home from inherited ruins and imagined futures.
Poetry. Essay. Hybrid. Family & Relationships.
“Luisa Giulianetti's AGRODOLCE is a stunning feast. Delicious in its abundant cascade of sense memories; its recipes blended with lore, loss, and love; intimacies whispered with tenderness and ferocity. These marvelous pages left me richly sated-and yet greedily hungry for more.” —Elizabeth Rosner, Survivor Café
“In her first superbly crafted offering, AGRODOLCE, Luisa Giulianetti displays a poet's and essayist's brilliance in her lyrical deconstruction of a bitter-sweet Italian American lifestyle. There is longing and devotion in her delving between the spaces of two disparate lands. Giulianetti displays a tangy, tactile sensibility to a love affair between motherhood and cross-cultural understandings. The old country is not finished, AGRODOLCE tells us. But the new one must change to accommodate its beauty and language. For Giulianetti, 'food and cooking are love.' The garden, the kitchen, the table, sites of history, tradition, and creation-all sacred. Sacred to this incredible work of literature.” —Indigo Moor, Everybody's Jonesin' for Something
“Giulianetti's profoundly moving, bittersweet poetry honors her immigrant family. Whether recalling her Nonna gathering roadside finocchietto, her father's gardening wisdom, or lyrically paying homage to lemons ('nectared saffron suns tripping moonlight, falling to earth'), she warmly embraces the reader. Poignant but unsentimental, a lover of the kitchen but never housebound, Giulianetti brilliantly reaches beyond domestic joys and sorrows: 'As you find the road/remember the North Star/homespun on a clothes line,' she writes. Bringing us home, AGRODOLCE helps us find ourselves.” —Maria Terrone, Eye to Eye
“Luisa Giulianetti's AGRODOLCE is a breathtaking blueprint for how to live a good and full life. Rooted in her Sicilian heritage, this book not only contains poems about how to boil pasta, make proper coffee and cook caponata, but how to honor those who came before us, and how to love those surrounding us.” —Sarah Kobrinsky, Nighttime on the Other Side of Everything
Luisa Maria Giulianetti is Bay Area born and bred, the daughter of Italian parents. Her first languages were Italian and Sicilian, and the kitchen table-where friends and family gathered to share food and stories-her first classroom. She is published in Brilliant Corners, CALYX, Feile-Festa, HerStry, Italian Americana, Motherscope, Ploughshares, Rattle, Tule Review, and VIA. For her, food is sacred: rooted, like writing, in history, lore, storytelling. And love. Luisa directs student programs and teaches at UC Berkeley.