Tag Archives: Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews

The Pandemic Challenge – Introducing 2020 Books by 14 Ontario Poets

“Well-thumbed books are strewn on the sill haphazardly/after bedtime’s nightly storytelling” – Frances Roberts Reilly*

My home library overflows with books: stacks of novels in my living room, short story collections in the family room, poetry books in my office. You could say I have a love for words. The challenge is to balance reading and reviewing with other daily activities. I wish I had time to read them all and some day I hope I will.

If your goal is to support local authors and/or to read work by an Ontario poet, it’s never too late. Perhaps you can help me out by cheering them on! Order one of their books, ask the library to include several books in their collection, maybe even post a review on Goodreads or other review locations.

Last week, I introduced several new anthologies that included work by members of The Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS). See the post here. Today, I present new collections** by individual members. All were published in 2020. Congratulations to all!

Three Cheers for the Award-winning:

 Swoon (Guernica Editions 2020) By Elana Wolff  ISBN13: 9781771835077     ISBN10: 1771835079

Swoon by Elana Wolff won the 2020 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry.

Congratulations to TOPS Life Member Elana Wolff! Her most recent poetry collection Swoon was named winner of the 2020 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry. This is quite an honour as the award is presented annually in recognition of “the finest Canadian writing on Jewish themes and subjects”. See additional information here.

According to the September 29, 2020 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards media release, “This collection of poems explores a variety of subjects but returns again and again to our longing for transcendence. Informed by Jewish texts and contexts, with a sure-handed control of language and image, the poems are passionate but mature, precise and curious, willing to risk everything for a chance to slip behind the curtain of the familiar to get a glimpse at the divine. The poems in Swoon are philosophical considerations, meditations on the sacred and profane with a subtle understanding of one’s own connection to the world. It is a subtle, sensual book of observances pleasing to the ear.”

A review of this book written by Kate Marshall Flaherty appears here on the League of Canadian Poets website and also in the January 2021 issue of Verse Afire.

Additional information about Elana Wolff and her other books can be found on the Guernica Editions website.

Additional Cheers for New Work (in alphabetical order according to the poet’s last name):

Continue reading


Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews Polishes Poetic Word Gems

Sea glass/broken pieces/more beautiful now/than the original object/they once formed—Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews*      

Canadian poet Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews polishes and re-polishes her work. Call her writing a labour of love! She writes when she can, between family and teaching obligations, and takes her time to ensure each word shines. This year, she released two new poetry collections: A Jar of Fireflies (Mosaic Press, 2015, 108 pp. ISBN 978-1-77161-138-1) and Letters from the Singularity (In Our Words Inc., April 2015, ISBN 978-1-926926-50-6). Below is a review of A Jar of Fireflies that will soon appear in Verse Afire, the membership newsletter of The Ontario Poetry Society:

A Jar of Fireflies by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews

A Jar of Fireflies by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews was recently released by Mosaic Press.

Canadian poet Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews collects memories like she collects sea glass along the shore. It’s her quiet polishing of word gems that first drew me to her work in 2008 when her chapbook The Whispers of Stones was released by Beret Days Press.

In her latest poetry book, A Jar of Fireflies (Mosaic Press, 2015), she continues to collect the past and states that “memories light up the landscapes of our nights like fireflies”. Themes inspired by her familial remembrances, nature, love, flowers and dreams dominate this collection. What makes her work shine is her ability to pull in the reader with both her narrative style and sparkling-fresh metaphors. Three examples include: “summer days split open/like slices of ripe watermelon”, “the leaves are velvet tongues” and “I strike a match on stone/and memory ignites it to diamond.”      

Fans of Di Sciascio-Andrews’ work will recognize such favourites as “Sea Glass” where memories are broken and scattered and fused back again and “Immigrants Fishing on the Oakville Pier” where “Across the lake, white sails/Bite the sky’s pale lip./A regatta of shark’s teeth/Aimed at the unsuspecting neck of night.”

Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews- A Selfie

Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews – Self Portrait

Her poetry has been shortlisted for the 2013 Descant’s Winston Collins Best Canadian Poem Prize and the 2014 The Malahat Review’s Open Seasons Award. These and other award-winning poems are seamlessly woven with never before seen work to present a strong album of heartfelt and layered messages: “Behind me hangs the dream of you.”

Housed in a “blue daiquiri” painted cover with golden fireflies, her poetic work is showcased like framed petals on fancy crème paper, “like sunlit glass in her hands”.

Letters from the Singularity by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews

Letters from the Singularity by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews was launched by In Our Words Inc. (IOWI) in April 2015.

Additional information about Di Sciascio-Andrews can be found on-line. She is the Oakville branch manager of The Ontario Poetry Society and a full member of The League of Canadian Poets.

Last October, she launched A Jar of Fireflies during a members’ reading organized by The Ontario Poetry Society.

This Sunday, November 22 from noon to 3 p.m. in Mississauga, she will join other writers in the launch of The Literary Connection Volume II, an anthology of prose, poetry, artwork, and photography  released by In Our Words Inc. (IOWI).

Her poetry as well as an essay about her writing will appear in a forthcoming anthology spotlighting Italian-Canadian women writers compiled/edited by Lambton County writers Delia De Santis and Venera Fazio.

*from the poem “Sea Glass” by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews, A Jar of Fireflies (Mosaic Press, 2015)


Celebrating the work of Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews and other authors of In Our Words Inc. (IOWI)