There were seasons alwaysówhite and more white giving way to tender green and there were stories of different generations. I grew up in Wisconsin amid stability and quiet natural beauty. After graduating from the University of Michigan, I lived in Oxford, England, New York City, London, Rome, Palo Alto, California and finally, Parma, Italy. Willed or not, my Midwestern accent has never been replaced, even by learning other languages.

The decades I have lived in Italy brought me to the door of different ways of seeing. I knocked, not without trepidation, and have never gotten through half of the rooms. I write about our times in poetry, essays, memoir, nonfiction, and fiction.

I teach in Europe and the U.S., lecture widely, and am a founding member of the Ledig-Rowohlt International Writers Residence in Lavigny, Switzerland. There I have read the work of more than 500 writers from 65 countries. There, as in workshops I have held with doctors and patients, writers using two languages, semester long classes with undergraduate students of poetry and essay, I continue to marvel at how words can change lives.

WORDS by Wallis Wilde-Menozzi
An interview in two parts

Producer: Patricia Piroh
Director: Larry Londino
Interviewer: Nancy Goldring
The impressive lion you see is one of two that guard the wooden doors of the cathedral in Parma. They have looked out on the central square for nine hundred years. Facing them is the Bishop's palace, to their left is Antelemi's Baptistery, which is among the most spectacular in Italy.

The Baptistery is really pink. The marble is from Verona. Above the entrance, we see a strong Mary with an open lap. The female figure as a physically powerful and commanding presence is a central theme in Parma.