Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

On Poetry, with Cristina Rizzuto

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Cristina Rizzuto

Cristina Rizzuto is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection, The Music Makers (Blaurock Press), which will be released in May. Her work has appeared in Dragnet Magazine and Inquire Publication. You can find Cristina online at her blog, Crisitina’s Library.

Cristina talked with Open Book about her collection and the “simple melody of ordinary existence.”


Toronto-based author Cristina Rizzuto knew early on that she wanted to be a writer, hoping to someday publish a book of her poetry. Stopping mid-stride to jot down a line of verse or a story idea was a very common occurrence growing up.

“I would write down my thoughts spontaneously, when I saw or heard something that evoked something in me,” she said. “Wherever I was in the world, I’d scribble in a notebook or furiously type away on my phone and edit later.”

Now, with the forthcoming publication of a poetry collection, Cristina’s dreams are coming true.

“I’m so happy to be accomplishing my goals,” she said.

Cristina describes her book, The Music Makers, as “a collection of poetry that addresses the pathos and triumph of everyday life. Each poem is a small story, and in every poem, there is an element of sound, highlighting the simple melody of ordinary existence.”

Divided into four parts, Da Capo, Lontano, Adagio and Cadence, the collection draws on the subtle music of the world around us, the sounds we often pass by. Each part of the book addresses “a certain emotion, and also a certain portion of my life,” said the author. “Only at the end, when I read through all of the poems individually, did I make the musical connection and realize the title for the book.”

For Cristina, poetry is a result of life experiences, both big and small. “All of mine have inspired me,” she said, “and the smallest moments have left the deepest impression. Those are the moments that matter most, the ones we think are unremarkable — sitting alone in a coffee shop and watching the world go by, feeling the sun on your skin, subway rides, subtle gestures. [...] The city and people of Toronto, my family, my university years and my travels abroad all played a huge role in the creation of the book.”

Cristina's literary tastes are quite varied, with her favourite books ranging from the works of J.K. Rowling, to Jack Kerouac's On the Road and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. Of the many poets that continue to inspire her, Allen Ginsberg, Shel Silverstein, Pablo Neruda and Dante Alighieri are among her favourites.

Cristina’s aspirations as a writer are just as varied. With one poetry collection about to hit shelves, her next project is a middle-grade novel.

The Music Makers will be available in May with a launch held at Toronto’s Proof Vodka Bar on May 11th. Visit the events page for details.

Danielle Webster is the editorial intern for Open Book: Toronto, with a degree in English literature and a certificate in publishing. She works in a bookstore. When Danielle is not reading kids and teen books, she is blogging about them at Bookish Notions.

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