Italy Reads

Calendar of Events

You must RSVP for all events at the link provided or by writing to [email protected] or by telephone 06.681.91.223. Photo ID is required for entry to the JCU campus. Please return to this page for updates during the academic year. Italy Reads offers opportunities for high school students to acquire valuable experience in the context of Alternanza Scuola Lavoro (ASL) / Percorsi per le Competenze Trasversali e per l'Orientamento (PCTO). See Activities for High Schools or Attività per le Scuole and contact [email protected] if you have any questions.

Italy Reads 2019-2020 Walt Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass'

Keynote speaker

Keynote Address, "Composting Whitman: An Approach to Reading Leaves of Grass" by Ed Folsom, Ph.D. Read the interview of Dr. Folsom conducted by high school and JCU students of the Italy Reads Events Team (for PCTO) in the Italy Reads 2019 Newsletter

Italy Reads 2019 Walt Whitman Keynote SpeakerEd Folsom's teaching and research have centered on nineteenth- and twentieth-century American poetry and culture. He has been particularly interested in the ways American poets have talked back to Walt Whitman over the years, and how Whitman tapped into American culture in surprising ways to construct a radical new kind of writing. He has written, edited, or co-edited a number of books on Whitman, including Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song (Choice "Outstanding Academic Book," Independent Publisher Book Award for Poetry), Walt Whitman's Native Representations (Choice "Outstanding Academic Book"), Walt Whitman and the World, Walt Whitman: The Centennial Essays, Whitman East and West, Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman, Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essays, Walt Whitman's Democratic Vistas: The Original Edition, Re-Scripting Walt Whitman (co-authored with Kenneth M. Price), and Walt Whitman's Song of Myself, with a Complete Commentary (co-authored with Christopher Merrill).

Ed has directed or co-directed a number of the major national and international Whitman conferences of the past few decades, including a symposium on Whitman in Translation, the 1992 Walt Whitman Centennial Conference, a 2000 conference on Whitman in Beijing, China, and a 2005 symposium at Iowa on Whitman as a bookmaker. In 2005, the sesquicentennial of the publication of the first edition of Leaves of Grass, he gave the keynote talks at four national and international Whitman conferences. In 2011, he organized a symposium of ten Whitman scholar/translators from around the world. He helped organize and has frequently taught the Transatlantic Whitman Seminar, held each summer in a different international location. This year, for the bicentennial of Whitman's birth, Ed is doing the keynote address at six Whitman conferences, and he is directing the "Whitman at 200 Symposium" at The University of Iowa, as well as curating the "Walt Whitman Bicentennial Exhibit" at Iowa's Library Gallery.

Ed has also written about twentieth-century American poets like William Carlos Williams, W.S. Merwin, and Gary Snyder, as well as other nineteenth-century writers like Frederick Douglass and Emily Dickinson. He has been a leader in the development of Digital Humanities, co-editing a CD-ROM archive of Whitman's work, co-directing the online Walt Whitman Archive, preparing the Whitman bibliography for Oxford Bibliographies Online, and in 2014 teaming up with Christopher Merrill to teach "Every Atom: Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself,'" Iowa's first MOOC, and in 2016 working with Merrill again to teach a MOOC on "Whitman's Civil War."

Winner of Iowa's Collegiate Teaching Award, the Graduate College Outstanding Mentor Award, the university's President and Provost's Teaching Award, and the Regents' Award for Faculty Excellence, Ed teaches courses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature, including a survey of American poetry, and doctoral seminars on Whitman, Dickinson, and the history of American poetry. He edits the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and the Whitman Series for the University of Iowa Press.

Student Video Contest

Deadline: 21 January 2020. The Award Ceremony will be held at John Cabot University on 1 April 2020.


Spring 2020 - JCU students interested in getting involved in the Italy Reads program, speaking in English with Italian high school students about Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass and much more, are invited to see  the 'Volunteer for Italy Reads' page for more information.

Teachers and students are invited to consult the Italy Reads Resources for Teacher and Students. This collection of resources is compiled in late June each year by the JCU librarians and this year includes the presentations on the author and his work at the Italy Reads Teacher Training Workshop by JCU professors and by Italy Reads high school teachers who attended the relevant Professional Development Course last spring.   

Italy Reads 2020-2021: Rachel Carson's Silent Spring

In preparation for Italy Reads 2020, JCU is offering 25 scholarships to attend a Professional Development Course (30 hrs.) on Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. Rachel Louise Carson (1907 – 1964), American biologist and author is recognized as the founder of environmentalism. Her book Silent Spring was published in 1962. It is considered a milestone in the history of ecological awareness. With Silent Spring she awakened public consciousness and established the global environmentalist tradition.

The emphasis of this course is to prepare teachers to engage their students in the study of this work from literary and interdisciplinary perspectives. Interaction among teachers and an exchange of best practices are encouraged. The course will introduce background information on Rachel Carson and the social and literary context in which she wrote. Considerable discussion will be dedicated to the importance of the relationship between literature, writing and social change, and to examining how literature can lead to a renewed connection with nature. This connection can be intended, especially at this moment of environmental crises, not as an abstract identity to protect ideologically, but a place where it is possible to explore one's own identity.

Professional Development Course Title: Italy Reads Rachel Carson's Silent Spring
When: Tuesdays, 4:30-6:30 pm, 21 Jan.-5 May 2020.
Instructor: Andrew Rutt
Official text: ISBN-13: 978-0618249060 Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Houghton Mifflin Company, Anniversary edition (2002), (originally published in 1962).
Language of instruction: English


  • 7 September 2019, 9:00am-5:00pm, Aula Magna Regina, Guarini Campus, Teacher Training Workshop
  • 3 October, and 19 November 2019, 4:30-7:30pm, Room T.G.3., Tiber Campus, Mini Teacher Training Workshops
  • 14 October, 2019, 6-8pm, Aula Magna Regina, Guarini Campus, Keynote Address, "Composting Whitman: An Approach to Reading Leaves of Grass" by Ed Folsom, Ph.D.
  • 15 October 2019, 6-8pm, Aula Magna Regina, Guarini Campus, Master Class for Teachers by Ed Folsom, Ph.D.
  • 29 October to 10 November 2019, Italy Reads Theatre - Italy Reads and The English Theatre of Rome present Donald Steven Olson's award-winning new play, Oscar & Walt. 10 performances were offered.
  • 22, 29 October and 26 November 2019 - Italy Reads Video Production Workshops for high school students.

Italy Reads 2018 Flannery O'Connor
Professional Development Course for High School Teachers - Spring 2018 Term, Teacher Training Workshops, 13 April and 28 September (replica) 9:00am-5: 00 pm, Aula Magna Regina, Guarini Campus, Keynote Address and Master Class for Teachers with Mark Bosco, S.J., Ph.D.

Preview Film Screening of the documentary Flannery, introduced and commented by producer and director Rev. Mark Bosco, S.J., Ph.D., The English Theatre of Rome presented 7 replicas of a choral reading of 'Everything That Rises Must Converge.' 

Video Production Workshops
Italy Reads Special Professional Development Course for High School Teachers entitled 'Information and Misinformation in a Fake News World, taught by visiting Professor Deanna Lee.

TESOL Italy's 43rd National Convention 'Paths of Change'
Professor Lee and some of her students presented the outcome of their course in the workshop entitled 'The Importance of Language in a Fake News World.'

Italy Reads 2018 Student Video Contest

Italy Reads 2018, Flannery O'Connor - Fr. Mark Bosco
Italy Reads 2017, Emily Dickinson - Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, with very special guest ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli from ASI Mission VITA on the International Space Station
Italy Reads 2016, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams - Sarah Churchwell
Italy Reads 2015, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison - Alessandro Portelli
Italy Reads 2014, A Farewell to Arms - Silvia Ammary
Italy Reads 2013, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri - Jhumpa Lahiri
Italy Reads 2012, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Sarah Churchwell
Italy Reads 2011, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - Cathy Fussell
Italy Reads 2010, Our Town by Thornton Wilder - Buck Herron
The Big Read Rome 2009, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Charles J. Shields