Skip to main content

Helen Barolini

The author of seven books and many short stories and essays that have appeared in literary publications as well as in anthologies and the annual series “The Best American Essays,” Helen Barolini’s work has been noted for the intercultural ties between her American homeland and the ancestral Italy where she lived for many years. Her first novel was written when she was the recipient of a creative writing grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. That was followed by “The Dream Book” for which she received an American Book Award. She has received other honors and has been a fellow of the Bellagio Center at Lake Como in Italy. All her books are in print and forthcoming for Spring 2004 is a poetry collection, “Rome Burning.” Photos and full information available on website.


The Italian Side of Emily Dickinson

Each morning recently, I seemed to traverse paradise passing through the gardens and grounds of Villa Serbelloni, the site of the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy, where I was a resident-writer, to reach my studio room above an ancie [...]

Horace’s Torte

Italy is as close to me as appetite. Indeed, my first memory of the country is gastronomic. It's September 1948. I'm coming into Italy on a train from Cannes, and, at a station stop in Ventimiglia, on the Italian side of the frontier with France, I [...]

Effie In Venice and the Roman Spring of Margaret Fuller

Autumn 2002 | Essays

I first came to know Effie Ruskin some decades before the play brought her to public attention and made her a heroine of sorts. In the mid-1960's my husband and I, and our children, spent the summer at Venice's Lido, the locale of his youth. He was finishing a novel-in-progress. I had taken along to read on the beach Mary Lutyens' Effie in Venice, an engaging account, based on the letters Effie (born Euphemia Gray) wrote to her family in Scotland when she was newly Mrs. John Ruskin and beginning a ten-month sojourn in Venice as her already famous husband gathered material for the second and third volumes of his masterly Stones of Venice. They had been married in 1848, a revolutionary time that postponed their honeymoon trip to Italy until the fall of 1849 when she was 21, 10 years younger than John.


The Shadowy Lady of the Street of Dark Shops

I was in college when the excitement of Botteghe Oscure, an international multi-language literary review, arrived in upstate New York to reveal a new era of literature and its possibilities. It was post-World War II, the end of American isolationis [...]