One of my best memories of my first trip to Louisville was a couple of long evenings spent getting to know Fred Gardaphe over drinks, talking together about our work. Fred amused me with tales of trying to get Italianists to admit there was such a thing as Italian/American Literature. Fred was there with his friend Anthony Tamburri. I got a copy of the anthology they edited with Paolo Giordano, From the Margins: Writings in Italian Americana, and taught from it in several courses through the following years.
And was still teaching from it when, one night in Boulder, I met Joe Amato, who I had gotten to know through the Poetics List. Joe and Kass and I have been good friends ever since, meeting up at conferences, reading each other's books, generally looking out for one another.
And here in today's mail these two streams become one. Fred Gardaphe has undertaken a publishing series through SUNY Press, The SUNY Series in Italian/American Culture. Joe Amato's beautiful volume Once an Engineer appears in Fred's series. I told Joe I'd teach this alongside Christ in Concrete. Michael Joyce, in keeping with the construction motif, says that Joe's book is "riveting from beginning to end."