Alessandro Porco

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Alessandro Porco is the author of two collections of poetry, Augustine in Carthage (2008) and The Jill Kelly Poems (2005), both published by ECW Press. He’s the editor of Population Me: Essays on David McGimpsey. He grew up in Malton and Brampton, but presently lives in Buffalo, New York, where he’s completing his dissertation. You can see him this month at the Summer Literary Seminars in Montreal, where he will be reading poetry as well as participating in a panel on Anglo-Quebec poetry after 1976.

Send your questions and comments for Alessandro to writer@openbooktoronto.com

Ten Questions with Alessandro Porco

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your latest book.

Alessandro Porco:

Most recently, I edited a collection of essays on Montreal writer David McGimpsey. Population Me: Essays on David McGimpsey is published by Palimpsest Press (2010). It includes a critical introduction (which I authored) as well as nine essays by a variety of scholars and poets. The essays examine how issues of nationalism, class, aesthetics, humor, literary history, and even love play out in McGimpsey’s work. An extended interview with McGimpsey concludes the book.

Recent Writer In Residence Posts

Beach Reading with Elizabeth Bachinsky

These last few weeks, I’ve been sitting in my Tommy Bahamma chair on the beach in Wilmington, North Carolina, reading through Elizabeth Bachinsky’s The Hottest Summer in Recorded History (Nightwood, 2013). It’s hot today: 88° degrees, clear blue skies. The surfers are doing there thing near Johnny Mercer’s Pier. School’s officially out now, so the beach is more lively— but still manageable. I smell hotdogs grilling somewhere nearby. I’m enjoying the late morning sunshine with my friend Megan, who is getting her tan on. She loves A.R. Ammons’s poetry, having grown up in his hometown of Whiteville (pronounced something like Hu-Why-It-Val).

Sandy Pool's Radiant Lyre

Tonight at 7pm, finalists for the 2013 Trillium Book Awards will be reading from their nominated works at the Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street). One of the evening’s readers is Sandy Pool, author of the wonderful— albeit terrifying— Undark: An Oratorio, nominated in the category of English-language poetry.

"This one goes out to all the humans": An Interview with Alice Burdick

Here is an interview I conducted via email with poet Alice Burdick. We discuss (among many other things) her latest collection of poetry, Holler, which I recommend highly. For more information on the book, visit the Mansfield Press website (http://mansfieldpress.net/2012...). Enjoy!

"Incidental Things": An Interview with Moez Surani

Tuesday, May 1st at 7:00 p.m., at the Magpie Taproom (831 Dundas St. West), Moez Surani is launching his new collection of poetry, Floating Life, alongside fellow Wolsak & Wynn authors Oana Avasilichioaei (We, Beasts) and Catherine Owen (Catalysts: Confrontations with the muse). I conducted an interview with Surani about his new book. Enjoy!

Pivot Reading Series with Tamara Faith Berger, Alessandro Porco and Moez Surani

When

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 8:00pm

Where

The Press Club
850 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON
M6J 1V5

Details

Join authors Tamara Faith Berger, Alessandro Porco and Moez Surani for readings from their latest works at the Pivot Reading Series!

For more information, visit pivotreadings.ca.

Location

The Press Club
850 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M6J 1V5 43° 40' 24.8988" N, 79° 23' 36.8124" W

BookThug Book Launch

When

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 7:30pm

Where

Supermarket
268 Augusta Ave
Toronto, ON
M5T 2L9

Details

Don't miss the BookThug BookLaunch at The Supermarket. Doors open at 7:30 PM.

New books will be released by Jake Kennedy, Alessandro Porco, Aisha Sasha John, Richard Krueger, Gary Barwin & Gregory Betts, Phil Hall, Erín Moure, Niels Frank - Roger Greenwald trans as well as Stephen Cain & our very own, Clelia Scala.

There will also be a surprise guest who you will not want to miss (because later people will tell you who it was and you'll wish you'd been there. Regret is no way to start launch season).

FEATURED TITLES INCLUDE:

- Apollinaire's Speech to the War Medic by Jake Kennedy
- I Can Say Interpellation by Stephen Cain with Illustrations by Clelia Scala
- Killdeer: Essay Poems by Phil Hall

Location

Supermarket
268 Augusta Ave
Toronto, ON M5T 2L9 43° 39' 14.4" N, 79° 23' 50.28" W

The Art of Infidelity: An Interview with Mike Spry

The Art of Infidelity: An Interview with Mike Spry

Mike Spry is the author of JACK, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Quebec Writers' Federation A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, and he was longlisted for the 2010 Journey Prize. He lives in Montreal where he is the Programs Director for Summer Literary Seminars, one of the world's largest international literary programs (St. Petersburg, Montreal, Vilnius, and Nairobi-Lamu).

I had the pleasure of asking Spry questions about his new book of short fiction. Our conversation follows below. After the interview, you will find information about Spry's forthcoming book-launch events. Enjoy!

*

Grazie Mille

Dear Open Book Readers:

my run as Writer-in-Residence for the month of June has come and gone. I'd like to thank you very much for the kind and encouraging email notes many of you've passed along to me. I am very grateful for the support, and I look forward to continuing to post short articles, essays, and interviews here at Open Book, which is such an important site in terms of fostering discussion about the arts.

In addition, I'd ask that you all turn your attention to July's WIR, Thom Vernon, who has a new novel called The Drifts, which you should all pick up asap. I look forward to his posts throughout the month!

Anchorman, The Cantos, and Translation

Translation is a tricky thing. It probably works best when some degree of mistranslation, whether willful or not, is involved in the process. That doesn’t mean it should necessarily dominate, however. As I said, it’s a tricky thing.

Consider the brilliant 2004 film Anchorman. Now, there’s a fascinating back-and-forth between the film’s two central characters— Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone— that is an astonishingly smart and insightful take on translation practices.

MY T.S. ELIOT

“. . . to be influenced by a writer is to have a chance inspiration from him; or to take what one wants; or to see things one has overlooked.” – T.S. Eliot

'A Grammatical Scale': An Interview with Gary Barwin

Hi, everyone. I’m almost at the end of my run here as Writer-in-Residence at Open Book. Somewhere along the line in my recent travels, I caught a nasty chest cold that’s knocked me out for the last week or so -- hence the dearth of recent posts. Nonetheless, I am venturing forth. Posted below is my last interview for the month. And in the next couple of days you can expect a small flurry of posts, including “My T.S. Eliot” and “Secret Influences,” as well as a couple of other surprises. Stay tuned… and, now, my interview with Gary Barwin!

Help This Ain't the Rosedale Library

Here's some info from Jesse & Charlie Huisken, explaining the current situation at This Ain't the Rosedale Library: http://thisaintblog.wordpress....

You can donate through paypal. Just click on the "Donate" link.

A

“Wang Worldwide”: The Poetry of Daniel f. Bradley [2] -- The Later Years

Earlier this month, I posted a short discussion on early chapbook publications by Toronto poet Daniel f. Bradley (http://www.openbooktoronto.com...). Today, I want to briefly turn your attention to his more recent work. I am going to focus on three publications: A Boy’s First Book of Chlamydia, T=I=D=Y Language, and The Murder of Semiotics.

Hard Feelings

Hi, everyone. It's my pleasure to introduce you all to poet Sheryda Warrener. I had the grand opportunity to serve as editor on Warrener's forthcoming debut collection. She's a fine poet. I asked Warrener a few questions via email. After the interview, there's even a poem by Warrener.

The Steam-Engine Guillotine

It’s Father’s Day tomorrow. Happy father’s day, pop! My dad, Giovanni Porco, has taught me many things, of course, and I am forever in his debt; he’s the best damn guy I know. Period. One thing he taught me and my siblings is the Italian language. So, in thanks, I thought I’d post my translation of a poem by 19th century Italian poet Giuseppe Giusti. I love the original, and I’ve worked long and hard to preserve its flat yet cuttingly funny (pun intended) tone.

Double Exposure: An Interview with Jacob McArthur Mooney

Poet and former Open Book: Toronto writer-in-residence Jacob McArthur Mooney conducts a series of interviews that he posts over at Torontoist.com. I interviewed Mooney about his interview process. Enjoy! (And please do check out Mooney's fine blog, Vox Populism; there's a link for it in the "Recommended Links" section of my WIR homepage.)

"Love, Matraca Berg": On Literary Friendship

I’ve been thinking about literary friendship lately.

I don’t mean the fake kind, which is distinguished by overly-mannered compliments like “Oh, it’s so good to see you, I just loved your latest collection of poetry about memory and the moon” (translation: not only haven’t I read it, I ain’t even gonna buy the dang thing). No, I mean something else entirely.

From Cold Mesmer to Spiral Agitator: Some Thoughts on Steve Venright

Originally from Sarnia, Ontario, Venright moved to Toronto in the early 1980s. Since then, he's been producing poetry that explores what he refers to as “domains of existence vivid and compelling beyond even this miraculous reality we call the world.” Venright also happens to be one of my favourite Canadian poets— and he’s disastrously underappreciated. (That may be a cliché thing to say about any author, but that doesn’t make it any less true in this case.)

The Minutes (VI-IX)

Here are some excerpts from a new series of poems called THE MINUTES. I'll be reading from THE MINUTES next week in Montreal, as part of the Summer Literary Seminars. Parts I-V are forthcoming from the journal P-Queue. Enjoy!

No Heart Feelings: An Interview with Canadian Filmmaker Geoff Morrison

Today's post is near and dear to my heart (no pun intended). Below is an interview I conducted with Canadian filmmaker Geoff Morrison about his forthcoming film No Heart Feelings, which hits big screens this July. Morrison also happens to be a great friend. We met twelve years ago, as freshmen; he had the dorm room next to mine. He screened an early version of No Heart Feelings for me last December, and it's a fantastic film!

Be a Free Fucking Agent: The Poetry of Daniel f. Bradley [1] -- The Early Years

Okay, so today I’m going to introduce Open Book: Toronto readers to early chapbook publications from poet Daniel f. Bradley. These handmade volumes, published between 1990-1994, are the only source for Bradley’s early work. (Some of his later work is collected in A Boy’s First Book of Chlamydia [BookThug, 2005]) and I’ll talk about that in a later post.)

"How fragile we are underneath": New Buffalo Poets

A few months ago, I wrote an article called “Duty Free” for Open Book: Toronto’s Winter Magazine. The article was a salvage project. I wanted to return to Canada’s literary-historical consciousness an event that took place -- if you would believe -- in Buffalo, New York many years ago. In 1980, Robert Creeley, Robert Bertholf, and Victor Coleman organized the four-day Canadian Poetry Festival (http://www.openbooktoronto.com...)

But there’s no reason the Q.E.W. should only accommodate one-way travel.

A Glimpse: George Murray in Interview

During my run as Writer-in-Residence this month, I plan on occassionally including interviews with Canadian authors. The people at ECW kindly provided a copy of George Murray’s forthcoming Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms — you can find it linked in my “Recommended Readings.” I had the pleasure of interviewing Murray about the book.

From the Archive [1]: "Fucking" Eh!

Kids say the darndest things, and Canadian poetry happens in the darndest places.

For example, in the early 1940s, a librarian named Helen Collins started a community writing workshop in Cleveland. The Free Lance Workshop soon extended into a literary journal, also called Free Lance. Included in the Free Lance Workshop was a poet named Russell Atkins, a black avant-garde poet and theorist who, by the 1950s, would play a significant role in editing the magazine and establishing its particular aesthetic vision. A great scholar — and poet in his own right — Aldon Nielsen talks at length about Atkins and outlines this zine history in his wonderful study Black Chant.

T=I=D=Y Language

Floors of Enduring Beauty

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Recent Comments on Alessandro Porco’s Blog