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September 29, 2004
Toronto City Council appoints next Poet Laureate
  
Toronto City Council today appointed Pier Giorgio Di Cicco as Toronto's new
Poet Laureate. After reviewing an initial list of 42 prominent Toronto poets,
the selection committee unanimously recommended to City Council the selection
of Mr. Di Cicco.

"I am honoured to have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of my
esteemed colleague and fellow poet Mr. Dennis Lee," says Pier Giorgio Di Cicco.
"It will be with pride and passion that I carry forward the mandate of the Poet
Laureate position for the City of Toronto and its residents for the next three
years."

An Italian immigrant who grew up in Montreal, Toronto and Baltimore and who now
calls Toronto home, Mr. Di Cicco is an acclaimed poet who has published over 14
poetry collections since 1970. After a 15-year publishing silence to pursue a
second vocation with the Catholic Church, Mr. Di Cicco returned to poetry with
the release of "Living in Paradise: New and Selected Poems" (2001), "The
Honeymoon Wilderness" (2002), and "The Dark Time of Angels" (2003) which was
nominated for the Trillium Book Award in 2004. His latest book titled "Dead Men
of the Fifties" will be released in November 2004.

Mr. Di Cicco is the recipient of numerous awards, including five Canada Council
Awards, six Ontario Arts Council Awards and the City of Toronto Arts Award
(1991). He has recently been appointed the Emilio Goggio Visiting Professor in
Italian-Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto (2004).

"We're absolutely delighted to welcome Mr. Di Cicco as our literary ambassador,
" says Councillor David Soknacki, Ward 43 Scarborough East. "Toronto's Poet
Laureate leads the charge in showing all of us the importance of literature and
culture in our lives."

Poets are not asked to apply for the honorary designation of Poet Laureate but
are chosen by an expert selection committee assembled from the literary
community. The committee was composed of representatives from the League of
Canadian Poets, the Toronto Public Library, the Friends of the Poet Laureate,
two active poets, professionals from the broader literary and arts community
and the incumbent Poet Laureate.

To be considered for the position of Poet Laureate, the candidate must be a
Toronto poet who has produced a body of published work that:
(1) displays literary excellence;
(2) includes poems about Toronto subjects; and
(3) has influenced other writers.

Appointed in April 2001, Dennis Lee was Toronto's first Poet Laureate. During
his three-year tenure, Mr. Lee embarked on an ambitious agenda and has been a
true champion of the literary arts in the city. He saw the formation of the
Friends of the Poet Laureate, the beginning of the Cultural Legacy Program and
a successful city-wide poetry contest.

For more information about the Toronto Poet Laureate program, visit
http://www.toronto.ca/culture.

Media contacts:
Councillor David Soknacki, 416-392-4008
Rita Davies, Executive Director, Culture Division, 416-397-5323



 

 

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