Join us at the IMA Gallery for a Reading with Toronto author Giovanna Riccio.
Giovanna Riccio will be reading from her newly published book, Plastic’s Republic, an adventurous poem sequence centering on Barbie, the complex cultural icon and feminist bête-noir powered by plasticity. A graduate in philosophy from the University of Toronto, she is the author of the chapbook Vittorio (Lyricalmyrical, 2010) and Strong Bread (Quattro Books, 2011) which was shortlisted for The Relit Award and selected for the Canadian Poetry syllabus at the University of Toronto. Her poems and other writings have appeared in numerous anthologies, the most recent being Heartwood: For the Love of Trees (League of Canadian Poets, 2018) and A Filo Doppio, (Donzelli editore, Rome, 2017) which includes Italian translations of her work.
Giovanna Riccio was born in a picturesque village in Calabria, Italy, and immigrated to Canada with her mother, Vittoria, and two siblings when she was six years old. They were part of the post-war transatlantic migration undertaken to seek otherwise non-existent opportunity for their children. Giovanna was renamed “Joan” by Toronto’s educational system, grew up in an Anglo-Saxon neighbourhood and attended schools where her ethnicity and class underscored difference, but where she also shared the spotlight of academic and creative success. Her earliest associations with poetry, artful language, storytelling, and audience were gifts from her father, Vito, who embodied the power and prestige a golden tongue can bestow on a person. An artist manqué inspired by innate intelligence and curiosity, he opted to be an autodidact, basement sculptor, and headstrong poet.
In 2019, Barbara Millicent Roberts, aka, Barbie turns 60. Plastic’s Republic offers an adventurous poem sequence centering on this complex cultural icon and feminist bête-noir powered by plasticity. Aside from thematically animating the ghost of Plato, the poems give voice to the major players in Barbie’s development and mammoth success, including Ruth Handler who co-founded Mattel with her husband; their daughter Barbara—the doll’s inspiration and namesake—and Barbie, herself.