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Il Vagabondo: An Urban Opera
Guernica Editions (Guernica World Editions), Spring 2021
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781771836364
ISBN10: 1771836369
$29.95 Canada, $24.95 US

Enter the cross-cultural tale of gusto and enchantment, adaptation and loss, preserving the old ways of making a life. Presented in six acts with intermissions and curtain calls, it is a new form of literature presented in interactive libretto form. Read it silently, read it out loud, or step upon the imaginary stage of all life to commandeer the operatic recitative called sing/speak. Il Vagabondo is a love story-an opera rusticana of the people, by the people, for the people. It is all true.

Il Vagabondo is an interactive work, creating a new genre that can be read in 5 ways:

1. Traditional silent reading.

2. Traditional reading out loud.

3. Reading in sing/speak.

4. Performing in sing/speak in small ensembles (book clubs, dramaclasses, family gatherings, Zoom get-togethers).

5. Traditional performance by a troupe on stage.

Opera is plastic and expansive as it adapts to “we the people” inCovid times and restrictions. Il Vagabondo presents a new kind ofliterature: urban opera. It addresses the roots of where we come fromand generational stories we carry with us. This form of literature celebrates communal reading at its core, closing the dimensional gap between audience as passive receiver of entertainment and audience as participant and potential star of the story. Audience is both entertained and entertainer.

Readers are invited to write stage notes and set their own scenes for the narrative, to populate the story with their own actors. The libretto script provides an opportunity for readers to bring the words alive in their own way, perhaps a new way with each reading. All literature is refracted and viewed from different angles depending on its readers' interests, desires, and mind states. This book recognizes and celebrates that plasticity, offering a literature with wider dimensions and permutations than the traditional novel form.

The core of Glenn Carley's work has its roots in all the Italian hill towns, all the Contadini and workers of the land, all that Alan Lomaxrecords in his journey through Italy to record hill songs in the late1950's. It is helpful to think of Il Vagabondo in terms of avant garde jazz or free jazz...later period Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp. All of these musicians influence the lyricism of Carley's form. It may be discordant to some ears but will have populist appeal.

Il Vagabondo is free jazz literature in its lyricism. It is a fresh, sub form of literature to be enjoyed both alone and in community.

O my geezis!

I came as fast as I could!

Broke the land-speed record

Four-wheel skid/ into the curb

of North York.

Only to find

the hose is out:

The Old Guy squeegeeing,

the clean wet concrete

in front of the garage

The plastic colanders and steel pots

all on their sides.

Dammit I hate my life!

I came as fast as I could!

Still/ they think/ I am/

an Inglese tourist

After all these years!

Books by Glenn Carley

Il Vagabondo: An Urban Opera