An American masterpiece. - Maria Mazziotti Gillan, author of What We Pass On: Collected Poems 1980-2009 You will sing this book like a rock song. - Annie Lanzillotto, poet, author of Confessions of a Tomboy You don't have to be Italian; you have only to be among the multitudes "too changed to go home." - Matthew Frye Jacobson, author of Special Sorrows and Barbarian Virtues In the half-mad tradition of the Italian Futurists (Marinetti et al.), Ted Berrigan, and the brilliant scribblers of Oulipo, Viscusi has constructed a wonderful machine for generating sonnets, an effort that reproduces the equally demented project of Ellis Island itself. . . . - Mac Wellman, poet, playwright, author of Murder of Crows History, language, memory, allegory, generosity, wonder - a tour de force. - Sharon Mesmer, poet, author of Half Angel, Half Lunch Ellis Island is a possible book, a book of possibility and possibilities. At the same time it is a real epic poem. - Martino Marazzi, author of Little America
Robert Viscusi was born on April 4, 1941, at St. Catherine's Hospital in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to Joseph Viscusi, a mechanic, and Vera Di Rocco, a dressmaker. Viscusi's grandparents were all immigrants from Italy who passed through Ellis Island. They never forgot Italy, though they never returned there.