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Athabasca University

Ethnic Minority Writing

by Joseph J. Pivato

Comparative Canadian Literature and Italian-Canadian Writing

Contrasts: Comparative Essays on Italian-Canadian Writing (Book Cover)

While at Athabasca University I have been able to publish three books and many articles in literary journals. In addition to brief descriptions about these books, I include here some of the latest information on publications in ethnic minority writing in Canada.

In 1985 I edited Contrasts: Comparative Essays on Italian-Canadian Writing. This was the first book of critical studies on the literature of Canadians of Italian background, and was republished in 1991. The topics explored in this book are: ethnic identity, writing in French and in Italian, the short story, ethnic poetry, exile and the role of the writer. In addition to the introduction I contributed two essays to this book which includes articles by novelists: Frank Paci, Dino Minni and Alexandre Amprimoz. Some Italian-Canadian writers who live in Quebec publish in French and three of them contributed essays in English translation: Antonio D’Alfonso, Fulvio Caccia and Filippo Salvatore. In addition to English and French some of these writers work in Italian. And you may be surprised to learn that there are more than 90 works of literature in Italian published in Canada.

Echo: Essays on Other Literatures. Joseph Pivato (Book Cover)

In 1994 I published a collection of my own critical studies in a book, Echo: Essays on Other Literatures. The essays here explore the problems of translation, the oral tradition of folktales and music, the voices of women, the image of the family, self-hatred, writing in Quebec and Comparative Literature. The "Foreword" to this book was written by Australian scholar, Sneja Gunew, who raises questions about theory and ethnic writing. When I was Canadian Visiting Fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, I began a joint research project with Prof. Gaetano Rando of the University of Wollongong.

In addition to books on Italian-Canadian writers I also co-edited a book of essays which examined the literary production of authors from many other ethnic minority groups in Canada. Literatures of Lesser Diffusion / Les litteratures de moindre diffusion (1990) was co-edited with S. Totosy and M.V. Dimic of the University of Alberta. Various essays explore the nature of ethnic minority writing in Canada and links with the countries of origin. This book is now out of print.

Dr. Steven Totosy de Zepetnek initially established a CLC Web journal for Comparative Literature and Culture, which is now maintained by Purdue University. In addition to the web journal, Purdue University maintains an extensive on-line library including directories, cumulative bibliographies, research tools, submission guidelines, publication objectives, listserves and other information for use when studying, researching, and publishing Comparative Literature.

My fourth book, The Anthology of Italian-Canadian Writing appeared in 1998. This is truly the most inclusive collection of work by Canadian writers of Italian background. A wide variety of genres are presented: short stories, poems, sketches, essays, plays, film-scripts, novels, prose poems, life-writing, political articles and memoirs. The 53 authors come from across Canada, represent all ages and regions of Italy and write in English, French, Italian or dialect. This anthology has an introduction and biographical information on each writer.The Anthology of Italian-Canadian Writing (Book Cover)

While this collection has been well received by the general reader it is also an excellent text for senior high school, colleges and universities.

The books pictured above have all been published by Guernica Editions of Toronto, the major publisher of work by ethnic minority writers in North America. To learn more about the various GuernicaPhoto of Joseph J. Pivato publishing projects explore Guernica's web site.

I am co-director, with Antonio D'Alfonso, of the Canadian Authors Series, a collection of volumes devoted to the critical appreciation of a number of writers working in Canada. Each volume is devoted to the work of one author and includes a number of essays on various aspects of his/her published work. Some of the authors included in this series so far are: Sharon Pollock, Caterina Edwards, Louis Dudek, Gail Scott, Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, Aritha Van Herk, David Solway, Mary Melfi, Barry Callaghan, Fred Wah, Nancy Huston, Alice Munro, Adele Wiseman and P.K. Page.

In addition to teaching, university professors are required to do research and to publish their findings in articles and books. At Athabasca University I have been able to combine my training in Comparative Literature, and my interest in ethnic minority writing into various research projects. This research has taken me into the problems of literary theory. Below I have listed some of my recent articles published in books and journals. Following that list are some of the latest books and articles on ethnic minority writing in Canada.

Recent Articles by Joseph J. Pivato on Ethnic Minority Writing

"Five-Fold Translation in the Theatre of Marco Micone" Canadian Theatre Review 104 (Fall 2000): 11-15.

"Challenging the National Literature. Italian-Canadian Writers and Others." Palinsesti Culturali. Eds. Anna Pia De Luca et al. Udine, Italy: Forum, 1999.

"My Father’s Escapes." Threshold: An Anthology of Contemporary Writing from Alberta. Ed. Srdja Pavlovic. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1999.

"Contributions of Italian-Canadian Writers." Attraversare gli Oceani. Ed. Rosella Mamoli Zorzi. Venice, Italy: Marsilio, 1999.

"Four Languages of Italian-Canadian Writers." in Canadian Culture and Literature and a Taiwan Perspective. Eds. Streven Totosy and Yiu-nam Leung. Hsinchu, Taiwan: National Tsing Hua University. 1998.

I was guest editor of the Italian Canadian Issue of The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad. Vol. 16, No. 3 (1998).

"Shirt of the Happy Man: Theory and Politics of Ethnic Minority Writing." Canadian Ethnic Studies XXVIII.3 (1996). Special issue on Literary Theory.

"Italianistica Versus Italian-Canadian Writing." Social Pluralism and Literary History. Ed. Francesco Loriggio. Toronto: Guernica Editions, 1996.

"La famiglia smembrata nella letteratura e nella filmografia italo-canadese." Altreitalia 14 (1996).

"Effects on Italian Communities of Migration to Canada: A Literary Perspective." Migration and the Transformation of Cultures. Eds. Jean Burnet, D. Juteau & E. Padolsky. Toronto: Multicultural History Society of Ontario, 1992.

"The Other as Double: Italo-Quebecois Writers." New Literatures Review 23 (1992) Australia.

Recent Publications in Ethnic Minority Writing by Other Authors

Caccia, Fulvio. Interviews with the Phoenix. Toronto: Guernica Editions, 1997.

Chao, Lien. Beyond Silence: Chinese Canadian Literature in English. Toronto: TSAR, 1997.

Clarke, George Elliott, Ed.. Eyeing the North Star: Directions in African-Canadian Literature. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1997.

_____. "Must All Blackness Be American?: Locating Canada in Borden’s ‘Tightrope Time,’ or Nationalizing Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic." Canadian Ethnic Studies XXVIII.3 (1996).

D'Alfonso, Antonio. In Italics: In Defence of Ethnicity. Toronto: Guernica Editions, 1996.

Greenstein, Michael. Third Solitude: Tradition and Discontinuity in Jewish-Canadian Literature. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1989.

Gunew, Sneja. Framing Marginality: Multicultural Literary Studies. Melbourne: University of Melbourne Press, 1994.

Hutcheon, Linda & Marion Richmond, Eds.. Other Solitudes: Canadian Multicultural Fictions. Toronto: Oxford U.P., 1990.

Kamboureli, Smaro, Ed.. Making a Difference: Canadian Multicultural Literature. Toronto: Oxford U.P., 1996.

King, Thomas, Ed.. All My Relations: An Anthology of Contemporary Canadian Native Fiction. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1990.

Lequin, Lucie & M. Verthuy, Ed.. Multi-culture, Multi-ecriture: La voix migrante au feminin. Montreal: Harmattan, 1996.

Loriggio, Francesco, Ed.. Social Pluralism and Literary History. Toronto: Guernica Editions, 1996.

Mukherjee, Arun. Towards an Aesthetics of Opposition. Toronto: Williams-Wallace, 1988.

_____. Postcolonilaism: My Living. Toronto: TSAR, 1998.

Padolsky, Enoch. "Establishing the Two-Way Street: Literary Criticism and Ethnic Studies." Canadian Ethnic Studies XXII.1 (1990).

_____. "Cultrual Diversity and Canadian Literature: A Pluralistic Approach to Majority and Minority Writing in Canada." International Journal of Canadian Studies 3 (1991).

Rando, Gaetano, Ed.. Italian Writers in Australian: Essays and Texts. Wollongong: University of Wollongong Press, 1983.

Siemerling, Winfried, Ed.. Writing Ethnicity. Toronto: ECW Press, 1995.

Totosy, Steven & Sneja Gunew, Eds.. Postcolonial Literature: Theory and Practice. Special Issue, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 22.3-4 (1995).

Tuzi, Marino. The Power of Allegiances: Identity, Culture and Representational Strategies. Toronto: Guernica, 1997.

Vassanji, M.G., Ed.. A Meeting of Streams: South Asian Canadian Literature. Toronto: TSAR, 1985.

Verdicchio, Pasquale. Devils in Paradise: Writing on Post-Emirgant Cultures. Toronto: Guernica Editions, 1997.

Verduyn, Christl, Ed.. Pulling Together Canadian Literary Pluralities. Special Issue. Journal of Canadian Literature 31.3 (l996).

Photo of Joseph J. Pivato
  • For information on English Canadian Literature see ENGL 302.
  • For French–Canadian Literature see FREN 374.
  • For Native Literatures in Canada see ENGL 308.
  • For Canadian Drama see ENGL 431.
  • For poetry, British, American and Canadian see ENGL 362.

Recent Publications by Italian–Canadian Authors

Amabile, George. Rumours of War. Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1995. Poetry

Ardizzi, Maria. Made in Italy. Novel republished. Toronto: Guernica, 1999.

Caccia, Fulvio. Aknos and Other Poems. Toronto: Guernica, 1998.

D’Alfonso, Antonio. Fabrizio’s Passion. Toronto: Guernica Editions, 1995. Novel

De Franceschi, Marisa. Surface Tension. Toronto: Guernica Editions, 1994. Novel

di Michele, Mary. Stranger in You. Toronto: Oxford U.P., 1995. Poetry

_____. Debriefing the Rose. Toronto: Anansi, 1998

Edwards, Caterina. Whiter Shade of Pale, Becoming Emma. Edmonton: NeWest Press, 1994. Two novellas

_____. The Lion’s Mouth. Republished, Toronto: Guernica, 1993.

Fiorito, Joe. The Closer We Are to Dying. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1999.

Madott, Darlene. Mazilli’s Shoes. Toronto: Guernica, 1999.

Mazza, Antonino. Trans. of Mario Duliani. The City Without Women. Oakville: Mosaic Press, 1994. Life-writing combining history and some fiction

Melfi, Mary. Infertility Rites. Toronto: Guernica Editions, 1991. Novel

_____. Office Politics. Toronto: Guernica, 1999.

Micone, Marco. Two Plays. Montreal : Guernica Editions, 1988. Drama

Oliva, Peter. Drowing in Darkness. Dunvegan: Cormorant Press, 1993. Novel

_____. The City of Yes. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1999.

Paci, F.G. The Rooming-House. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1996. Novel

Patriaraca, Gianna. Italian Women and Other Tragedies. Toronto: Guernica, 1994. Poetry

_____. Daughters For Sale. Toronto: Guernica, 1997.

Ricci, Nino. Lives of the Saints. Dunvegan: Cormorant Press, 1990. Novel

Verdicchio, Pasquale. Approaches to Absence. Toronto: Guernica, 1994. Poetry

Additional Links

  • For more information about Italian-Canadian writers and their literature you can link with Pasquale Verdicchio and the the Association of Italian-Canadian Writers.
  • Marcus Pivato website.

Updated July 24 2014 by Student & Academic Services

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