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The inaugural Colby Italian Festival will be held at Colby College in Waterville on Thursday, May 2, and Friday, May 3. The festival will feature a roundtable discussion on Italian studies in the United States and a poetry reading with Paolo Valesio. All festival events are open to the public and free of charge.

The roundtable discussion will take place on Thursday, May 2, at 4:30 p.m. in the Joseph Family Spa. The discussion will be followed by a concert by the Colby trio Primavera performing works by Italian composer Giuseppe Tartini.

On Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the Pugh Center of Cotter Union, Valesio will give a bilingual reading of his poetry. Colby English Professor Patrick Brancaccio will read his translation of Italian Nobel Prize-winning poet Salvatore Quasimodo’s work. Poets Mario Moroni, Italian professor, and Olivia Holmes also will read their own poems. The reading will be followed by a performance of Italian Futurist poems and a literary contest by students of Italian at Colby. Valesio is the author of several books of poetry, criticism and narrative, as well as articles and essays. Former chair of Yale’s Italian Department, he is the founder and co-editor of the journal YIP: Yale Italian Poetry, the founder and organizer of the Yale Poetry Group, associate director of the Italian Poetry Society of America and honorary president of the American Association of Italian Studies.

The Italian Festival is sponsored by Colby’s French and Italian, Music and Art departments, the Cultural Events Committee, and Ruth Brancaccio and David Mills.