Hear three brilliant poets with new books in a fascinatingly wide spectrum of traditions and subjects, all of crucial concern today, but rarely grasped with such passion and
Hear three brilliant poets with new books in a fascinatingly wide spectrum of traditions and subjects, all of crucial concern today, but rarely grasped with such passion and breadth. Presented by the City of Toronto.
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AF Moritz currently serves as the sixth poet laureate of the City of Toronto. His many honours include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize, and an Ingram Merrill Fellowship.
A native of Chile, Beatriz Hausner came at a young age to Canada with her parents, the artist Susana Wald and the poet and collage artist Ludwig Zeller. She has published acclaimed poetry collections including Enter the Raccoon (2012), Sew Him Up (2010) , The Archival Stone (2005), The Stitched Heart (2004), The Wardrobe Mistress (2003), and Towards the Ideal Man Poems (2003). Her extensive work as a translator has focused on the writers of that literature, including Rosamel del Valle, Enrique Molina, Olga Orozco, César Moro, the poets of the Chilean Mandrágora movement, among others. A respected historian and translator of Latin American Surrealism, she is a co-founder of Quattro Books, and has served as Chair of the Public Lending Right Commission. For many years she worked at the Toronto Public Library, where she founded and curated many readings and series and was increasing the TPL’s literary programming, collections in poetry and in foreign literatures, and relationship to the Canadian literary community. She is currently President of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada. Hausner’s poetry is rooted in international surrealism, especially its Spanish American expression.
The author of eight books, Joe Fiorito won the National Newspaper Award for Columns in 1995; the Brassani Prize for short fiction in 2000; and the 2003 City of Toronto Book Award for his novel, The Song Beneath the Ice. He has worked as a city columnist for the Montreal Gazette, The National Post, The Globe&Mail, and the Toronto Star.
An Indo-Guyanese writer by way of Scarborough (Ganatsekwyagon), Natasha Ramoutar is a poet and producer who covers arts and culture. Her micro-fiction was selected for the My City, My Six exhibition at Toronto City Hall, and she was named Scarborough’s Emerging Writer of 2018 by the Ontario Book Publishers Organization. Her work has been included in projects by Diaspora Dialogues, Scarborough Arts, and Nuit Blanche Toronto and has been published in The Unpublished City II, PRISM Magazine, Room Magazine, THIS Magazine and more. She is the volunteer Social Media Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD). She curated So Fresh: A Scarborough Reading as the 2019 writer-in-residence at Firefly Creative Writing and is the fiction editor of FEEL WAYS, an anthology of Scarborough writing.
All I Have Learned Is Where I Have Been
All I Have Learned Is Where I Have Been, Joe Fiorito’s second collection, creates uncompromising mini-narratives about addiction, failed rehabs, incarceration, and homelessness. Along with his 2018 book, City Poems, this work establishes him as the preeminent chronicler of people in extremis. Poems of searing precision convey a visceral knowledge of urban realities: “her little finger curls a bit/she cut a tendon when she slit/ her wrist; she’d clenched/ her fist.” All I Have Learned Is Where I Have Been is a moving exploration of brokenness by one of Canada’s most indispensable writers.
As Far As You Know
Written and organized chronologically around before and after the poet’s serious illness and heart surgery in 2014, these gorgeously unguarded poems plumb and deepen the reader’s understanding of Moritz’s primary and ongoing obsessions: beauty, impermanence, history, social conscience and responsibility, and, always and most urgently, love. For all its necessary engagement with worry, sorrow, and fragility, As Far As You Know sings a final insistent chorus to what it loves: “You will live.”
Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart engages the many faces, and bodies, of Eros. From wistful romance to explicit sex, the poems are inspired by the troubadour poets of Provence and Italy, and invoke such historical figures as the Byzantine Empress Theodora and her husband, Emperor Justinian, not to mention the important, little known poet Beatriz, the Countess of Dia. Juxtaposing surrealism with Ovid, Callimachus, Dante, the Troubadours, and popular music—punk and new wave—these poems are pure Hausner in chorus with her “alter voices,” expressing permutations of presence, absence, conquest, and loss. Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart reaches through the millennia to create an unexpected, fully contemporary exploration of one of humanity’s deepest sources of pain and transcendence.
Bittersweet is a collage representing both a reconstructed homeland and Scarborough, Ontario. It considers memory using photographs, maps, language, and folklore. Bringing together definitions, recipes, cartography, photo albums, and oral stories, it meditates on themes of obscured and suppressed history, theft, time, and liminality. The poems journey from Toronto to Guyana to South Asia, and Scarborough remains omnipresent, with a mix of identities and a strong, active, and boisterous youthful presence. Bittersweet is Ramoutar’s first book of poems.
(Saturday) 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm EST