Letter from Italy, 1944

 
9781936482580: Letter from Italy, 1944
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In Letter from Italy,1944, Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely, the daughter of an army doctor serving with the 10th Mountain Division during World War II, has written a searingly honest and loving series of poems. They depict her father's post-traumatic return to civilian life and the winning courage he showed in his losing battle. Written in her own voice but also in those of others in the family, these poems lead us into the hearts and minds of people at the mercy of a merciless war that took the lives of many who returned home, the victims being not only the soldiers themselves but those in their families. Yet in the midst of it all, there are many moments of great beauty, courage, and musical enchantment. There is music not only in the singing doctor and his musical family, and not only in the gorgeous music of the poems, but also in an oratorio based on the book, an oratorio whose score has been written by the poet's sister, Sarah Meneely-Kyder, songs from which can be heard on the book's accompanying CD as well as seen in sheet music incorporated into the book.

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About the Author:

Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely, Smith College B.A. in hand and nothing at all to suggest she knew how to make a lesson plan, began professional life as an English teacher in Vermont's Waterbury High School. When, after two happy years, Vermont suggested it was important that she sport a real credential, she acquired a Master of Arts in Teaching from Yale. After discovering her best students were listening to her from inside hallucinations, she moved into the work of training community/school teams in drug abuse prevention at Yale's Drug Dependence Institute. Later, with a Master's of Education in Human Relations from the UMass School of Education, she tacked back and forth across a career path in training, counseling and education, finishing paid employment in a twenty-year career with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington, DC, where she worked first in emergency management training and then directly in support of response and recovery operations. She retired north to Connecticut and now devotes much of her time to the Guilford Poets Guild and the Guilford A Better Chance Program.

Review:

This book engages the most substantial human matters--war, love, grief, childhood--in poems that are astute, musical and full of the most perceptive feeling. The reader feels the great pity of suffering, the redemptive glimpses and tenuous handholds that illuminate and darken the days of a World War II veteran and his family... Nancy Meneely is a poet of the first order, one who sees how the unbearable and bearable are constant partners in the drama of life. --Baron Wormser

The subject matter of Letter From Italy, 1944 is as essential and as fierce as it comes: love, war, childbirth, terror, elation, death. Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely has the reticence of Bishop and the tender heart of Hardy, and like Hardy, confronts all the grave satires of historic circumstance. Only the wisest and gentlest of poets is capable of giving to the transfiguring catalyst of song a non-violent knowledge of violence. Meneely does this: the poems in this collection bring silence to a low, persistent, rhapsodic wail. --Gray Jacobik

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