Episode 468 – Wallis Wilde-Menozzi

Virtual Memories Show 468: Wallis Wilde-Menozzi

“A book about silence has to have silence in it.”

Author, poet and translator Wallis Wilde-Menozzi returns to the show to explore her new memoir/meditation, Silence & Silences (FSG). We talk about the uses and abuses of silence, the magic of herons, what it takes for the voiceless to find a voice, the nature of censorship (both external and self-driven), whether “home” is where you live or where you’re buried, and how she developed the mosaic mode of her new book. We also get into feminine writing vs. masculine writing, her distrust of the authority of words, the differences between American and Italian culture when she started exploring family history, her accidental career, and the experience of editing the “final” draft just as the pandemic began, and finding there was more to write. She also explains why she doesn’t keep out-takes of her writing, why some experiences are too personal for social media, and what it meant to be a woman writer when she was coming up. Give it a listen! And go read Silence & Silences! (& listen to our 2013 and 2017 conversations)

“There are major women writers now who are articulating things that one could recognize but was waiting for someone to put words to.”

“The pandemic and the environmental crisis shows me that we’re in a transition that’s going to be very deep, and we’re not going to recognize a lot of things when it’s over.”

“By chance: that’s the way my writing life went.”

“I think it’s very important to see that women are as varied as men, but also that they not be afraid to show non-male qualities.”


Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

Wallis Wilde-Menozzi is the author of Mother Tongue, The Other Side of the Tiber, and Toscanelli’s Ray. Her poetry, essays, and translations have appeared in Granta, The Best Spiritual Writing, Words Without Borders, and Tel Aviv Review. A collection of her essays was published in Italian as L’Oceano e’ dentro di noi. She lives in Parma, Italy and occasionally Bronxville, NY. Her new book is Silence & Silences.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Wallis’ Bronxville, NY home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Wallis & Paolo by me. It’s on my instagram.

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