Association Italian Canadian Writers

Association Italian Canadian Writers

Welcome to the Association of Italian Canadian Writers Web Site! The Association was founded in 1986 in Vancouver, British Columbia, after most of us had met in Rome, Italy, in 1984, at the Canadian Cultural Institue. For your information, past presidents have been Joseph Pivato and Caterina Edwards. The Association's main purpose is to publicize the work of Italian Canadian authors, and to provide a forum for the discussion of issues pertinent and relevant to the membership. This is done through a bi-annual conference that has taken place in Vancouver, York, Winnipeg, Montreal and Toronto. This year, and extra meeting was held in May which proved to be fruitful. The next, normally scheduled conference, is for Vancouver in October 1998. Our local contact Anna Foschi, and the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, dottoressa Gabriella Bianco, have expressed interest in helping make that conference come true. The 1996 meeting in Toronto was particularly exciting because it was intended to establish a dialogue with similarly situated writers in the Canadian context, that means ethnic/minority writers. And so, a panel was held during part of that conference in which we were able to hear and discuss the work of our Southeast Asian and Caribbean colleagues. This meeting will hopefully result in some sort of joint publication, and mark the beginning of such collaborations. I hope that if you are interested you will take the time to contact me and/or try one of the links below. I'm sure you will find most of them informative.
Pasquale Verdicchio, President AICW


This conference marks the Association of Italian Canadian Writers return to the city of our first meeting and of our founding. We invite individuals interested in presenting papers (10-15 minutes in length) to send proposals to the address provided below. The title of the conference can be read in a number of ways. It is meant to address official designations of “visible and invisible ethnicities,” it proposes an analysis of the practices of cultural production and dissemination, and leans the question toward considering the effects of assimilation and acculturation among other themes. In following with the Toronto Conference, we intend to continue expanding the horizons of the Association by inviting members of other communities to speak and read from their creative works. In addition, this year, we would like to also propose a panel in which the presenters address works outside of their immediate community. We are also extending an invitation to writers from other communities to read during the course of our conference. We hope that you will take the time to propose a talk or a reading. We urge interested writers and speakers to apply for travel funding through the Canada Council. Travel grant applications to conferences are uncomplicated and the forms are easily obtained through the Canada Council at their Ottawa address or over the internet. The Conference will be held on the top floor of the Blue Horizon Hotel, centrally located on Robson Street, downtown Vancouver. The hall has a beautiful three direction view of Vancouver, Georgia Straight, the North Shore and its Mountains. The meeting will begin on Friday Afternoon, Oct. 23, with a book display, presentations, a Canada Council Sponsored reading (if funded) and a group reading into the evening. Saturday will be taken up by sessions and roundtables on the announced topic; the day will end again with Canada Council Sponsored reading and a group reading. Sunday is a half day which will close the meeting with a roundtable discussion among Italian Canadians and other participating groups; the afternoon will be closed with a group reading. The Association is currently providing most lunches, snacks, and the like. We can provide these only for members. Be advised that we will try to cover most of the costs of travel and lodging (again only for members). Therefore, if you have not sent in your membership dues please do so at this time. If you are not a member by conference time and wish to join us during our lunches and dinner you will be aked to pay a minimal conference registration fee. This fee however will not give non-members reimbursement rights on travel and lodging. Paper Proposals, Contact: Joe Pivato 2503-39A Ave, Edmonton, AB T6J 0P4 Readings Proposals, Contact: Anna Foschi 30-710 W 15th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7M 3K6
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Reviews, Announcements, Opinions, Ideas...these and more were published in the Newsletter by Marino Tuzi

Eduardo De Filippo. The Nativity Scene. A play translated by Anthony Molino with Paul Feinberg. (Guernica, 1997).

This translation of De Filippo’s Natale in Casa Cupiello is important because it adds to the list a significant example of Italy’s cultural range. Rich in the iconography of Italian culture, The Nativity Scene brings to us that very special object around which Christmas festivities gravitate. The presepe is representative of the collaborative effort that is required to move forward with hope every year. This is a ritual in which many of us have participated, and it is a ritual that too many have left behind. It is this message of renewal and reconfirmation of faith in the capacity of others and ourselves to go on that is particularly significant in the Neapolitan context. And it is also here that the play finds its universal appeal.

Ben Morreale. The Loss of the Miraculous. Novel. (Guernica, 1997).

In The Loss of the Miraculous Ben Morreale creates a series of patterns and interseptions that find their common denominator in the search for what they sense has been misplaced in the world, the miraculous. Their sense of what that may constitute varies, but it is in the common denominator of “love” that their search finds validation along with frustration, and a recurring sense of loss with every gain achieved.

Elena Poniatowska. Tinissima. Historical novel. Farrar, Strauss, Giroux (1996).

In this long-awaited book, Elena Poniatowska brings to light the life and times of Tina Modotti, photographer, activist, writer and revolutionary. Born in the Friuli in 1896, Modotti emigrated to the U.S.A. in 1913. She reached her sister and father in San Francisco, where she worked as a seamstress. In her spare time she took up acting, which would eventually help her find her way into Hollywood silent films. She began her photographic activity with the help of Edward Weston. Most of her images are restricted to the period of her seven year residence in Mexico, which ended with expulsion in 1930. During that time she not only built up a highly influential body of photographic work, but she was also very active in the political scene in Mexico. It was the latter, in fact, that led to her expulsion and a return to Europe. Germany, France, the Soviet Union, and Spain were the poles between which she travelled and in which she continued to be active. The list of names associated with Modotti is too long to include here but a few will suffice to illustrate her position: Pablo Neruda, Diego Rivera, Vittorio Vidali, Edward Weston, Sandino, Antonio Mella, Frida Kahlo, and Manuel Alvarez Bravo. She died in Mexico in 1943.

Tina Modotti. 5,000,000 Widows, 10,000,000 Orphans: Women! Do You Want That Again? (Parentheses, 1996).

Published on occasion of the centennary (1896-1996) conference and exhibition in honour of Tina Modotti, this is one of the many articles and pamphlets that Modotti wrote during her time as an activist. Originally written in German and published in 1932, this pamphlet has been out of circulation since then. A meditation on the horror of World War I, and on the threat of another global war, Modotti’s pamphlet becomes an urgent rallying cry to women in an attempt to politicize, activate, and energize them into the service of peace and socialism.

Media Watch

Just as we think things might be getting better, stereotype rears its ugly head. On the trail of A&E series on the Godfathers, the San Diego Reader, a supposedly more progressive media force in the city, published five of a planned series of seven articles on organized crime. I’m sure I don’t have to go any further. We are used to the fact that when those two little words are brought together the finger is pointed in our direction. Organized crime=italians=mafia. Are these positions interchangeable. Of course. Any way you look at it, the Italian community is always and immediately implicated when sensationalism comes to be the only way to sell papers of air time. And so, my media watch story is one in which I have become very active within the San Diego Italian American community. REAL LIFE HOODLUMS WITH BLOOD ON THE HANDS. This was one of the front page headlines. All five articles were the lead, front-page grabbers for the weekly paper. All of them included these loud announcements along with archival photographs of the community. One article of this sort may be considered an aberration. Two could be a mistake. Three ignorance. Four stupidity. But five (with two more in the works) is a clear and out-and-out political act. At this point the community has organized to challenge the publisher of this paper. The person has refused to meet with the steering committee, but it seems that plans for the last two articles have been at least postponed. A letter campaign has been organized. An advertising boycott is in the works, as is a move to preclude the distribution of the paper in Little Italy. A picket line may also be implemented if the last request for a meeting and a public apology is also rebuffed. One interesting point of note is that this paper has its main office in the heart of Little Italy, and yet they have made no attempt whatsoever to come toward it in discussing the matter. Action by Italian American groups vis-a-vis the Godfathers series on A&E was successful in ensuring that it would not be re-broadcast. Though the Italian groups of San Diego have been slow in coming together (is this a surprise for Italians?), the collective action of those who have taken it upon themselves to act is proving to be not only a way to protest idiocy, but also a way to infuse a sense of community and activism in San Diego’s Italian American population.


We are now undeniably involved in a world in which computers have been integrated into almost every aspect of life. The Web that everyone has heard of, that some fear and that others have taken permanent residence on, is a tool that we as members of this association should take full advantage of. Do you have an internet hookup? Then you are ready to set up your own web site. Though it may sound complicated, it’s one of the easiest things around. What’s more is that you can set up a limited web presence for $ 0... FREE...GRATIS...YES!!!!... A Web Site is a perfect way for us all to keep updated on what we are can post announcements, some of your latest work, photographs, graphics, sound clips, video or film clips, or almost anything you want....and, this is where the web concept takes hold, on each page that you set up you can provide links to other pages (yours or someone else’s) thereby extending the web in new directions... The language for page construction is known as HTML...which right off the bat sounds more complicated than what is actually the case...but, if you fear this as I did, don’t worry because the services I will name below provide a step by step approach to website building. You are taken by the hand and you’ll see how easy it is...there is no reason not to have a website...there is no reason not to be present out there in cyberspace... You can give your page any title, shape it in any way you want, and connect it to any other page in the cyber universe...the leaps one can make are incredible...the sights and sounds one can access are also amazing... If you are curious, I invite you to tap into my pages to have a look. Pages are always under construction...material can be changed, altered, or replaced at any time at whatever are two of my sites: if you would like to try your own site building I would suggest the following... 1. if you are a student or faculty at a university or college, you should be able to connect to registration is free then go to the website construction area and start your website...also free 2. if you are not a student or faculty you can try this very service on which you are reading my site: you will also register for Free and upon confirmation (a few hours at the most) you will be able to set up a site for free. Another free site is through and yet another is You should set something up in all of them if you can...there are no restrictions. If you have any questions drop me a line at


Old AICW Page
1st Ital Amer Community Conference
Antonio Porta site
Parentheses Writing Series
ZERO...Writing Arts
RITMO ... Italian Hip Hop...Tarantamuffin
LIGHTZOO ... Italian & Italian American Film
Ethnic Studies/Joseph Pivato...Athabasca Univ.


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