Joseph Tusiani is New York State Poet Laureate Emeritus

(January 08, 2016)
Governor Cuomo announces New York's Biennial State Author & Poet and names Joseph Tusiani New York State Poet Laureate Emeritus in Recognition of Contributions to International Literary Community.

Cuomo Names Joseph Tusiani New York State Poet Laureate Emeritus in Recognition of Contributions to International Literary Community.


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the appointment of New York’s 11th State Author, Edmund White, and 11th State Poet, Yusef Komunyakaa. In celebration of Italian-American poet Joseph Tusiani's lifelong dedication to the arts, Cuomo has also named him New York State Poet Laureate Emeritus. 

Governor Cuomo said, “These talented, inspiring writers have each made remarkable contributions to the literary community in New York. Their work is a tremendous asset to us all and has served as a touchstone for many around the world. I look forward to their literature being shared and enjoyed for generations to come.”

Edmund White said, "I’ve lived most of my life in New York and have written about it extensively. It’s astonishing to be recognized by my home and my subject.”

Yusef Komunyakaa said, "I am honored to serve as New York State poet. I embrace this historical support of artists and I shall endeavor to cultivate this atmosphere where poetry and the lives of working people intersect.”

Joseph Tusiani, Professor Emeritus at Herbert H. Lehman College, City University of New York, said, “I humbly accept this great honor which I consider a public recognition of my lifelong love for poetry, and all that poetry represents in a world beset by mundane cares and alienating forces. I am most grateful.” 


About Joseph Tusiani – Poet Laureate Emeritus 

Joseph Tusiani is an acclaimed poet and writer in four languages. Born in San Marco in Lamis (Foggia) in 1924, he earned a doctorate from the University of Naples in 1947 with a thesis on William Wordsworth. Later that year, he emigrated from Italy to the United States where he began his career as a successful academic.

Tusiani has written numerous collections of poetry. His Latin works include Melos Cordis (1955), Rosa Rosarum (1984), In Exilio Rerum (1985), and In Nobis Caelum (2007 ); Lo Speco Celeste (1956), Odi Sacre (1957) and Il Ritorno (1992) in Italian; and, Rind and All (1962), the Fifth Season (1964) and Gente Mia and Other Poems (1978) in English. A new volume of verse, A Clarion Call, is scheduled for publication in 2016.

On the international stage, Tusiani is well known for his translations that include The Complete Poems of Michelangelo (1960), Jerusalem Delivered (1970), The Creation of the World (1982), Morgante (1998) and others. Tusiani has also written a novel, Envoy from Heaven (1965), and authored a three-volume autobiography, La Parola Difficile (1988), La Parola Nuova (1991) and La Parola Antica (1992).

Tusiani began his teaching career at the College of Mount Saint Vincent and later joined Lehman College of the City University of New York.

Tusiani is widely recognized for his Italian, English, Latin and Apulian poetry and has received numerous awards and accolades. In 1954, he was the first American to receive the Greenwood Prize of the Poetry Society of England. In 1986, The American Association of Teachers of Italian nominated him as the first recipient of the AATI Distinguished Service Award. In 2007, he was presented with the Keys to the City of Florence for his contributions to the English-speaking world’s knowledge of Florentine poets from Dante and Boccaccio to Petrarch and Machiavelli.

The Poet Laureate Emeritus is a separate and distinct honor bestowed on Tusiani by New York State in recognition of his achievements in American and Italian literature. Joseph Tusiani is 92-years-old and lives in New York City. 

Angelo Vivolo, President of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, said, “It is a great honor for the Columbus Citizens Foundation and for the entire Italian-American community that Governor Cuomo and the State of New York recognize the unique distinction of Professor Joseph Tusiani, internationally known as the greatest living modern Latin poet, writer in four languages, translator, scholar and teacher, by bestowing upon him the title of ‘New York State Poet Laureate Emeritus.’” 





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