Join us at the IMA Gallery for a Reading with Toronto author Giovanna Riccio. She’ll be sharing from her newly published book, PLASTIC’S REPUBLIC .
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.