When the Cicadas Return










A Blanquito in El Barrio


A Blanquito In El Barrio
Gil Fagiani


“Out of the squishy swamp of dead personal lyrics that is contemporary American poetry, Gil Fagiani’s hard-boned zombies rise out of his poetry collection, A Blanquito in El Barrio. His poems of a white junkie in East Harlem are crafty narratives that sing the music of sex, compassion, friendship, justice, mercy, comedy, betrayal, dope and more dope. Fagiani is a poet of unusual power. These poems have strong heart and deep soul. A Blanquito in El Barrio is that rare good thing--a necessary good book.

--Angelo Verga, author of A Hurricane Is, 33 NYC Poems, and Praise For What Remains.

“In A Blanquito in El Barrio, Gil Fagiani tells stories, horrifying tales of heroin addiction, rendered unsparingly and stark, in unflinching poetic lines. It’s a story of addiction, rehabilitation, and redemption, peopled with desperate, decimated, and unforgettable characters, whose tragic lives he never condemns, but uplifts and honors with tough, vivid verses, set to the pulsing rhythms of Latin dance halls.”

--Steve Zeitlin, Founding Director, City Lore: The New York Center for Urban Folk Culture.

“Gil Fagiani writes of his love for Spanish Harlem during the late 1960s and his profound connection to its residents. His affection for Latino culture rings out in poems that pay homage to such great musicians as Ray Barretto, Tito Puente, La Lupe, and Arsenio Rodriguez. This is an honest, gripping and deeply personal collection.”

--Nicholasa Mohr, lives in East Harlem and is the author of Nilda, El Bronx Remembered, Rituals of Survival: A Woman’s Portfolio, Felita, and A Matter of Pride.






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Gil Fagiani's poetry collection Rooks (Rain Mountain Press, 2007) is set at Pennsylvania Military College in the 1960s, his poetry chapbook Grandpa’s Wine (Poets Wear Prada in 2008) focuses on his family’s immigrant generation, and has been translated into Italian by Paul D’Agostino (Poets Wear Prada, pending 2009). His book of poetry Chianti in Connecticut was inspired by his childhood in Springdale, Connecticut (Bordighera, pending 2009).

Gil’s poems and translations have been published in more than a dozen anthologies, as well as such newspapers and journals as The New York Times, The Paterson Literary Review, Mudfish, Skidrow Penthouse, Descant, Philadelphia Poets, Identity Theory, Saint Elizabeth Street, The Ledge, Italian Americana, The Journal of Italian Translation, and Gradiva.

He has translated into English, poetry written in Italian, Abruzzese dialect, and Spanish. He co-hosts the monthly open reading of the Italian American Writers’ Association at the Cornelia Street Café, and is the Associate Editor of Feile-Festa: A Literary Arts Journal.