Joseph Luzzi book talk at Italian Center launches Italian Heritage Month in Poughkeepsie

Joseph Luzzi reading with his daughter, Isabel. (photo by Helena Baillie)

Noi Italiani D’Oggi (NIDO), the not-for-profit Italian-American cultural group headquartered in Poughkeepsie, has proclaimed October to be Italian Heritage Month, and it will kick off the festa with a special lecture at its monthly meeting at the Italian Center: Professor Joseph Luzzi, PhD will talk about his latest book, In a Dark Wood: What Dante Taught Me about Grief, Healing and the Mysteries of Love (HarperCollins, 2015).

Luzzi, a Dante expert who teaches Comparative Literature at Bard College, lost his wife in a tragic automobile wreck in Rhinebeck in 2007. They had been married less than two years, and Katherine Mester Luzzi was eight months pregnant with their first child at the time. Although Katherine’s injuries were too severe for her life to be saved, their daughter Isabel was safely delivered through emergency surgery.

In coping with this sudden traumatic loss, coupled with solo fatherhood of a newborn, Joseph Luzzi turned to his chief literary inspiration for words of wisdom and found new meaning in works that he had already thought familiar: a deepened understanding of the poet’s sense of loss, his yearning for the home to which the exiled Dante could never return. In a Dark Wood is Luzzi’s account of his personal Inferno and how literature helped him find his way through it.

The reading and talk by Joseph Luzzi will take place in the History Room at the Italian Center, located at 227 Mill Street in Poughkeepsie, on October 1 at 7 p.m. For more info visit or call the Italian Center at (845) 454-1492.

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