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New chapbook of poetry examines industrial working conditions

July 27, 2012

Parallel Press is pleased to announce the publication of Once I Was Told the Air Was Not For Breathing, a new collection of poetry by Paola Corso ($10.00, Parallel Press, 2012). Corso’s collection

examines industrial working conditions through the stories of those who worked in them.

Writes Maggie Anderson, author of Windfall: New and Selected Poems, “Paola Corso’s precise and vivid poems are lyric evidence of the harsh lives and labors of working-class men and women. In Once I Was Told the Air Was Not for Breathing, she documents the dangerous (still) conditions of those who work in and live near steel mills, factories, and sweatshops. Corso is a poet who remembers what happens, and what continues to happen to workers and to our environment as a result of greed and the push for profit at the expense of human lives. Tragically, much of our air now “is not for breathing,” but the essential and heart-breaking poems in this chapbook are pure oxygen. Breathe deeply and learn from this wise poet.”

“Paola Corso sings of bodies-wounded bodies, beaten bodies, defeated bodies, bodies weakened and diseased, dead bodies,” Edvige Giunta, author of Writing with an Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Authors writes. “These are brave bodies. They are the bodies of working people from mines and factories, from Pittsburgh and from New York, from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 and from the sweatshops of Chinatown following the attack on the Twin Towers. This poet is relentless in her search for the traces of these unsung, the workers whose voices and stories resonate throughout this small book of epic proportions. She has given us poetry of witness in all its power to move us to remember and to act.” Paola Corso was born in the Pittsburgh area where her Southern Italian immigrant family found work in the steel mill. A New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry fellow and Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award winner, she is the author of 7 books of poetry and fiction, including Catina’s Haircut: A Novel in Stories on Library Journal’s notable list of first novels in Fall 2010, Giovanna’s 86 Circles And Other Stories, a John Gardner Fiction Book Award Finalist, a book of poems, Death by Renaissance, and The Laundress Catches Her Breath.

Once I Was Told the Air Was Not For Breathing
is available for purchase through Parallel Press. Discounts are provided for libraries, booksellers, and non-profit organizations.