Books > Creative > Sicilianas

Winner of the 2022 Lauria/Frasca Poetry Prize.

Sicilianas, an admirable work of imagination, creates a space where we—like the characters in its poems—live uneasily. It's a space of myth and nightmare, where ghosts are more vivid than the living, the dreamed more important than the lived. Over and over, in these evocations of twentieth-century Sicilian immigrants and their descendants, facts yield to emotional truths. Women dominate these stories: their bravery, their fears, their transcendence, their legacy. The astute mingles with the sensory, the complex thought with the heartrending cry. Manizza Roszak has an exquisite lyricism, an ear for the music and tension of the line, which gives her poems the power to render "the lives / of the loved played over / for us as they might / have been."
— Kathleen Ossip, distinguished judge

"What a beautiful, magical, resonant book! The disorientation and displacements of Sicilianas happen at a mysterious remove reinforced by elegant and elusive language and landscape that swirls and conjures. The skies transform and 'explode' while cliffs and mountains move as Manizza Roszak charts a fantastical and 'impossible land,' a 'misplaced country,' all the while harnessing an 'unknown assemblage of sounds.' Poem after poem comingles present lives with previously lived ones in an afterlife so seamless you find yourself cheering for the vital new song that startles through the collection."
— Peter Covino

"Throughout Sicilianas, time swirls in on itself. The dead gather in the air here, marbling the surface of the present. These are image-rich snapshots in the shape of a family, painting 'cloth-wrapped infants in tow' or a 'makeshift pool' with 'tree blossoms ever / suspended on its face.' Amidst the multi-continent trajectories, Manizza Roszak's writing grounds us in a deep homage to a lineage of women. At the end of the book, the titular poem opens, saying, 'Today I've been in the mood for telling other people's stories.' These poems tell the stories of other people, but they're also stories that allow a self to know itself, to 'look the living ghost in the face,' and by extension allow all of us to understand how we are made through family, through generations."
— Laura Wetherington

© 2024 Suzanne Manizza Roszak
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