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Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Media Release

Local “Books and Biscotti” Event to Showcase Award-winning Poets/Authors during National Poetry Month Celebration

Bright’s Grove, Ontario: April 3, 2013: Three well-known Italian Canadian poets from Toronto as well as two award-winning poets from Lambton County will present new work as part of a National Poetry Month celebration planned for “Books and Biscotti”, Sunday, April 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Dante Club, 1330 London Road (side entrance hall) in Sarnia.

      Guest readers include: Toronto publisher and Guernica Editions co-owner Michael Mirolla, poet/author/performer/artist Sonia Di Placido and Len Gasparini, a 2010 winner of the NOW Open Poetry Stage event plus local poets Debbie Okun Hill, an Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve recipient and first prize winner of the 2013 Sarnia-Lambton Alzheimer Society’s “Forget Me Not” poetry contest and Lynn Tait, first prize winner of The Ontario Poetry Society 2012 Arborealis Contest. Four of the featured poets are members of the League of Canadian Poets, a professional organization for established and emerging poets.

       Several books are expected to be launched in this free community presentation hosted by the Dante Club in conjunction with the Italo-Canadian Cultural Club/Laziali di Sarnia and the Association of Italian Canadian Writers (AICW).

        “Each year, we try to introduce new Italian Canadian writers to our local community,” said Venera Fazio, one of the co-organizers for the annual event. “This year, we are thrilled to spotlight several writers from Guernica Editions, a Toronto press that deals in one way or another with the pleasurable understanding of different cultures. Since 1978, this press has published over three hundred titles and five hundred authors from around the world.”                                                                                                
         Mirolla, the editor-in-chief, will be reading from his new collection of short stories: The Giulio Metaphysics III as well as promoting his Bressani Prize winning novel Berlin, his poetry collection Light and Time and his short story collection The Formal Logic of Emotion (translated into Italian as La logical formal dell emotion).
         Di Placido will be reading from Exaltation in Cadmium Red, a body of poems that “revels in this fanatical, fantastic colour to express the heights and depths of passion – engaging in meditations on prayer, spirituality, feminism, and the breadth of existence in a post-colonial, trans-national and transsexual age.”           
         Gasparini will be reading new poems from a forthcoming book titled Mirror Image.
        According to co-organizer Delia De Santis, the Sunday event also represents the Sarnia launch of EnCompass 1 (Beret Days Press): a poetry anthology featuring the work of Tait, Okun Hill and three other Canadian poets: Bernice Lever (British Columbia), Jan Wood (Saskatchewan) and Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews (Ontario). Okun Hill and Tait will read their award-winning work as well as several selections from the anthology.
The afternoon will be emceed by Luisa Zoncheddu Solinas.
AICW is a national organization that brings together a community of writers, critics, academics, and other artists who promote Italian-Canadian literature and culture.

For more information or to set up a media interview contact:
Delia De Santis 519-869-6852

A short bio of the participants has been attached. Photos available upon request.                
Books and Biscotti National Poetry Month Event -- April 14, 2013


Sonia Di Placido is a poet, writer, performer, and artist currently completing the Creative Writing, Optional Residency, MFA Program with the University of British Columbia. She is a graduate of the Ryerson University Theatre School and holds an honours BA in Humanities from York University. Sonia has worked as a Supernumerary with the Canadian Opera Company, is a member of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers and the League of Canadian Poets. She has published profile pieces and creative non-fiction with Tandem News, poems in literary journals in Canadian and International anthologies.

Len Gasparini is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry, five short-story collections, including The Snows of Yesteryear (Guernica, 2011), two children’s books, a work of non-fiction, and a one-act play. In 1990, he was awarded the F.G. Bressani Literary Prize for poetry. In 2010, he won the NOW Open Poetry Stage event. He lives in Toronto.

Debbie Okun Hill is President of The Ontario Poetry Society, a co-host of Sarnia’s Spoken Word event and a recent Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve grant recipient. Her poems have been published in Descant, Existere, Vallum, and The Windsor Review in Canada plus Mobius, The Binnacle and Still Point Arts Quarterly in the United States. She has read her work throughout Ontario including the Fringe Stage of the 2011 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival and during the 2012 PoeTrain Express/Spring Pulse Poetry Festival in Cobalt. Black Moss Press will publish her first full collection in the Fall 2013.

Novelist, short story writer, poet and playwright, Michael Mirolla’s publications include a punk-inspired novella, The Ballad of Martin B.; two novels: Berlin (a Bressani Prize winner), and The Facility, which features among other things a string of cloned Mussolinis; three short story collections: The Formal Logic of Emotion (translated into Italian as La logica formale delle emozioni), Hothouse Loves & Other Tales and The Giulio Metaphysics III; and two collections of poetry: Light and Time, and the English-Italian bilingual Interstellar Distances – Distanze Interstellari. A poetry collection, The House on 14th Avenue, is scheduled for Fall 2013 from Signature Editions, and a short story collection, Lessons In Relationship Dyads, is scheduled with Red Hen Press in the U.S. His short story, “A Theory of Discontinuous Existence,” was selected for The Journey Prize Anthology, while another short story, “The Sand Flea,” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. A poem, “Blind Alley,” was shortlisted for the Winston Collins/Descant Prize for the Best Canadian Poem in 2007. Along with partner Connie McParland, Michael runs Guernica Editions publishing house.

Lynn Tait is an award-winning poet/photographer residing in Sarnia, Ontario. Her poems have appeared in numerous American and Canadian magazines including The Windsor Review, Quills, Contemporary Verse 2, Feathertale Review, and in over 60 anthologies including two previous Arborealis anthologies. She is a member of the League of Canadian Poets, The Ontario Poetry Society, and two local writing groups Writers in Transition and After Hours Poets.

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