Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Roman Style Bacchanalia ...

In Roman times, Bacchus, the god of wine and revelry was celebrated at events called Bacchanalias. Some historians think it originated in the south of Italy (southerners know how to par-tay). At this Bacchanalia, eleven writers and poets and one singer were invited to read, recite and sing ... to celebrate ecstasy, revelry and intoxication. Here''s how they did it ...

Dom Capilongo, poet & co-emcee
We start with a bang ... with slam poet Trevor Abes
The writer Arif Anwar, travelling
from the wilds of Mississauga
The ever expressive poet Valentino Assenza
John Calabro, author of
An Imperfect Man
Dom Capilongo leads the second set 
The poet Rocco De Giacomo
The inestimable Paul Fowler
reading his short story
Poet, publisher, force majeure ...
Luciano Iacobelli
Paul Salvatori, reggae singer
Poet & founder Justin Lauzon 
La Poetessa (and pinch hitter) Cathy Petch 
There is a Sicilian expression you use when someone special
comes into the room: "Ca sono i sordi (Here comes the money)..."
That's Toronto poet laureate George Elliott Clarke

An appreciative crowd ...
Emcee and organizer Michelle Alfano

I hear not the volumes of sound merely, I am moved by the exquisite meanings,
I listen to the different voices winding in and out, striving, contending with fiery vehemence to excel each other in emotion;
I do not think the performers know themselves—but now I think I begin to know them.

That Music Always Round Me ~ Walt Whitman.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Roman Style bacchanalia ...


Trevor Abes is a poet, arts writer and member of the Toronto Poetry Slam Team. Find his interviews and essays in The Toronto Review of Books, Torontoist and Sequential. Find his poetry in untethered magazine, (parenthetical) and The Toronto Quarterly. Say hello at

Michelle Alfano was most recently the Associate Editor-in-Chief with Descant and the Founder of the (Not So) Nice Italian Girls & Friends Reading Series. Her novella Made Up of Arias (Blaurock Press) won the 2010 Bressani Prize for Short Fiction. Her short story “Opera”, on which her novella Made Up of Arias is based, was a finalist for a Journey Prize anthology. She is currently at work at a new novel entitled Destiny, think of me while you sleep and the memoir The Unfinished Dollhouse. You may read more of her writing at

Arif Anwar works for the government and writes in his spare time. He is currently nearing submission for his first novel, The Storm. Arif has more degrees than he knows what to do with and an unhealthy interest in cricket (the sport). When not walking into traffic while staring at his mobile phone, Arif can be found in Mississauga, where he lives with his partner Sandra and a dog that bears an uncanny resemblance to a meerkat.

Valentino Assenza is a published poet and spoken word artist who's writing has mainly been based out of Toronto over the last 20 years.  He has performed all across the Canada and the US, has four chapbooks of poetry, and numerous pieces of poetry published in journals such as Descant and Labour Of Love.  You can hear Valentino Tuesday nights as he is currently a co-host of the radio program HOWL on CIUT 89.5FM

John Calabro is an educator, publisher, cultural entrepreneur, and fiction writer. His first novella, Bellecour, was published in 2005 by Guernica Editions and named by the Globe and Mail First Fiction Reviewer as one of the "Top 5 First Fiction" in 2005.  Calabro’s short stories, essays and reviews have appeared in many journals and anthologies. His second novella The Cousin was published in 2009 by Quattro Books, and its French translation, Le Cousin, was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Award. An Imperfect Man is his third novella.

Rocco de Giacomo is a widely published poet whose work has appeared in literary journals in Canada, Australia, England, Hong Kong and the US. His work has recently been accepted for publication in Juxtraprose Literary Magazine and Ottawa Arts Review, and has most recently been published in Queen’s Quarterly. Rocco’s poetry has also been featured on the CBC. He is the author of numerous chapbooks including, in 2008, Catching Dawn’s Breath. In 2009, his first full-length poetry collection, Ten Thousand Miles Between Us, was launched through Quattro Books. His forthcoming collection, Every Night of Our Lives, will be published with Guernica Editions.

Toronto-based writer of fiction and poetry, Domenico Capilongo is also a high-school teacher and karate sensei.  His first three books almost won several literary awards.  Although he usually writes for adults, he is also working on a children’s book about a boy that hates kissing old ladies. His next book of poetry is about the way we communicate and is forthcoming with Guernica Editions.

George Elliott Clarke hails from Nova Scotia and has won a bunch of laurels. He is the current Poet laureate of Toronto, and is revered. He has taught at Duke, McGill and Harvard, and is the E.J. Pratt Professor of Can Lit at UofT.

Paul S. Fowler grew up in in small town Labrador and medium town Newfoundland, and currently continues to grow up in big town Ontario.

Luciano Iacobelli is the author of numerous chapbooks, 3 full length poetry books, and he is one of the collaborators of The Emu Dialogues.  His book The Examined Life is due to be published in 2016 by Guernica books. He is the co owner of Quattro Books, and the publisher of Lyricalmyrical Press.

Justin Lauzon is the Founder and Operator of, Canada's Word on Writing. He is a writer, web designer, and reviewer, working as the Digital Marketing Intern for The Word On The Street Toronto and the Literary Coordinator for Hear Here: A Creative Salon. His writing has been featured in untethered Magazine, The Rusty Toque, and on the Descant Blog.

Paul Salvatori is reggae artist and performer. His original music celebrates the joys of love while also expressive of the pain of loss. Paul is also a documentarian interested in the struggles as well as heroism of rare or marginalized individuals, recently placing in a TVO film contest for his documentary, "Short On Short", about a modest-statured gentleman's search for romance. His upcoming documentary work will explore the significance of graffiti in different youth subcultures internationally, coinciding with his area of focus as a researcher at UofT.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Amazons of the Mediterranean

 On June 7th, 2015 fifteen Amazons of the Mediterranean gathered at the Black Swan Tavern - they were comedians, poets and writers - serenaded by one brave singer/musician. They laughed, they commiserated, they shared ... and a wonderful time was had by all.

Our first set ...

Brave comedian Daniela Saioni leads the way ... 
La poetessa, award winning Gianna Patriarca
The always charming poet
Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews
Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews
Poet Giovanna Riccio
One of our Greek Amazons ... the writer Tina Tzatzanis 
reading for one of her very first times

Serenaded by the multi-talented 
musician/singer Nigel Barnes
The writer and arts supporter Darlene Madott
Poet Silvia Falsaperla (truly the 
name of a poet), at her first reading
Talented writer Bianca Lakoseljac, a true trooper, who
drove five hours from up north to make the reading
Nicole Haldoupis,
writer & co-founder of untethered
Nigel opens the third set 
Sandra Battaglini, comedian extraordinaire
Poet Sonia Di Placido bound for
new literary adventures soon
Cristina Rizzuto 
Cristina Rizzuto, 
author, traveller, bibliophile.
Daniela Nardi speaks about 
Città Aperta on June 23, 2015
Carmela Circelli,
philosopher, academic, daydreamer
Art director and Amazon poster creator Rob Fujimoto

Emcee & Organizer Michelle Alfano