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The Sky Laughs at Borders

Valentino Assenza has been a published poet and spoken word artist for over two decades. He has published four chapbooks of poetry: Wandering Absence, Il Ritorno (Labour Of Love Productions), Quiet Confessions of a Loudmouth and Make Our Peace With Rattlesnakes (Lyricalmyrical Press). He has had numerous pieces of poetry published in anthologies such as Labour Of Love and Descant Magazine. He has read and performed his poetry throughout Canada and the U.S.A.

Valentino was a member of the Toronto Poetry Slam team in 2009 and 2010 and has performed his poetry at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and The National Poetry Slam. Valentino sat on the committees for the Art Bar Poetry Series and Toronto Poetry Project.

He currently lives in Toronto, and is the co-host and co-producer of Howl, a spoken word, literary radio show, Tuesday nights at 10pm on CIUT 89.5 FM.

KUDOS for Through Painted Eyes

No bluff, no puffery: Valentino Assenza brings it! His poetry is born alive, chanting authentic, operatic hymns–howlin prayers–with some bittersweet tangs and tones in the warp and woof, These verses guard and nurse an alien tongue–to better lash and whip the eardrums of those Canucks who like their Can Lit canned. Cos Assenza don’t consent to one-way assimilation! Discontented, he’s gotta do Al Purdy proud; he’s gotta make over Gord Downie; his Canadiana gotta come out Latinate–Italianate–as if Puccini is kicked back with an espresso on College Street (Toronto) or as if Dante be critiquing Fellini in a Bracebridge rec room. Through Painted Eyes gives us English “romanced” to seem a “romance language”– but piquant, and dulcet, peppery, with Negronis on tap and Hendrix on the hi-fi.

George Elliott Clarke
Toronto Poet Laureate (2012-15)
Parliamentary Poet Laureate (2016-17)

Through Painted Eyes is a beautiful collection. Through tender poetic snapshots and lush lyrical vignettes, Valentino Assenza takes us on a journey of memory that spans both generations and continents – where the old world of Sicilian shopkeepers merges with the modern, urban hustle of Toronto’s east end. Through Painted Eyes will help you remember how the wisdom of the past can heal us and move us forward. It will tickle your sense of nostalgia, ignite a desire to be drenched in tradition and culture, but most importantly, it will open your heart.

Andrea Thompson

Valentino Assenza writes like an angel performing open heart surgery with no anesthetic. It is raw and poignant and should come with a warning label for those who are afraid of the truth, frightened by love, and leave tears in their memories.

Norman Cristofoli





Through Painted Eyes
$23.95 +5% tax (Includes shipping, Canadian orders only*)

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