Selected Works

Nonfiction
A look at life in little-known mountain towns of the Sicilian hinterlands.
A true account of the last years of an ancient Sicilian giant bluefin tuna trap.






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Out of Palermo

July 16, 2017

Tags: Mattanza, first edition, first printing, author signed, personalized inscription, eBay, Favignana, book, first, nonfiction, giant bluefin tuna, fishermen, tonnaroti, tradition, gone, extinct, history

For sale by me on eBay:
15 copies of my first book, Mattanza, in pristine condition, signed by me and with a personalized inscription. I have kept these books in temperature- and humidity-controlled storage since they were first printed. Hardcover first printing, first edition, illustrated, with end papers.
Click on the caption to see my auction on eBay.

R.I.P. Vincenzo Sercia, Favignana tonnaroto

January 12, 2017

Tags: favignana, tonnara, sicily, fisherman, tonnaroto, prima voce, soloist, ciurma, singer, tradition, passing, losing, disappearing, gone

Last night I learned that Vincenzo Sercia had died. I wrote about him in Mattanza. He was the former Prima Voce, the soloist, of the ciurma, the team of 100, then 80, tuna fisherman working under their supreme commander, the rais. He was already retired when I knew him in the early 1990s. I would follow him with a tape recorder begging him to sing the words of the cialome, the traditional, mystical work songs of the Favignana tonnara, but he always slipped through my fingers. These were not songs to be sung on land. It was taboo.
But one spring day in 1993, when documentary filmmaker Luciano Bovina was gathering material for a film about the tonnara, I learned that Vincenzo Sercia and a portion of the current ciurma would sing the cialome near Punta Lunga, in a rocky seaside cove for Luciano's benefit. I was invited, too, and in the pink dusk I recorded Vincenzo Sercia singing the songs. The most haunting is Ai-a-mola.

Cops "afraid"

April 23, 2014

Tags: Santa Margherita Belice, agrigneto, sicily, carabinieri, robbery, thief, refusal to investigate, gold, jewelry, gone, unfair, incredible

Cactus at my cousin's place
Just got back from four days away in Santa Margherita Belice where I stayed at my cousin's place. She said a few years ago their home was robbed, twice.
"All the gold," she said, all the gold items her children had been given at birth, at baptism, at graduations, the bracelet her husband gave her (more…)

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