Joanna Clapps Herman is an Italian American writer, editor and poet. In November of 2019, she released When I Am Italian: quando sono italiana which explores the question:
can a person born outside of Italy be considered Italian?
Herman, born to second-generation Italian American parents, was raised with Italian customs and traditions. Her Italian upbringing was the inspiration to many of her publications. Edvige Giunta, coeditor of Embroidered Stories: Interpreting Women’s Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora, describes Herman as “a vital voice in Italian American literature, Joanna Clapps Herman sings the subterranean stories and voices of her community. When I Am Italian continues her exploration into the heart of cultural identity as it has survived and mutated in the country to which her ancestors migrated, yet with a difference: here the narrator visits more private, intimate selves. Traversing the genres of memoir and essay, Clapps Herman brings to the page a woman whose gestures, language, and memories are filtered through the sieve of being Italian, an identity she understands as inherited and chosen, fixed and fluid. Anyone who has inhabited the ‘liminal space’ of an ethnic community—not only readers of Italian descent and persuasion—will be seduced by the exquisite writing and will relish the tenderness and vulnerability with which this splendid book pulls us into a world where everyone can be Italian.”
For more on Herman’s story, visit: https://www.muthamagazine.com/2020/02/when-i-am-mothering-in-italian-an-interview-with-author-joanna-clapps-herman/