In the second part of her feature for The California Journal of Women Writers, Sonia Di Placido speaks with Claire Farley about her work, and shares a new poem, “This is Why I Called You Shrimp (or Squirt)”.
Di Placido explains the poem as “a recollection of memories from when [her sister] was a young girl and when she returned to California at twenty-years-old and lived there for a year.”
The theme of family, and of familial ties, arises on numerous occasions in the interview, as Di Placido speaks of her literary influences, of upcoming projects, and of the importance of women artists finding their voices in a world in which many still struggle with sexism and a lack of opportunities.
She explains her relationship with other poets like this:
“Other poets are like siblings to me. We don’t always get along or understand one another; some we do, but ultimately there’s this connectivity because we come from an ancestral lineage of poetry and poetics. “
In Exaltation in Cadmium Red (Guernica Editions, 2012) in particular, she explains being influenced by a great number of such “canonical writers jumping back and forth between Ancient Rome, the Renaissance, to twentieth-century Modernism, to postmodernism.”
The use of familial terms is similarly applicable to Di Placido as she describes the relationship between artistic mediums.
“Painting and Poetry are like relatives: siblings or cousins. They have similar essences. What I mean is that they both require a basic ingredient, let’s say flour, which is the “spirit” of a thing; this spirit, this essence, comes through and spurs the “act” of creative expression…they are mediums that share similar DNA, meaning that they have a shared lineage and origin.”
Besides working on her own poetry, Sonia Di Placido has run workshops devoted to the study of other women writers. She explains the importance this holds, and stresses the necessity for writers to foster a community rather than constantly working in solitude.
“A community or a nucleus of humans, ever evolving, is there to offer variety. For me, sitting and reading aloud, sharing the text with others, discussing other poets and writers and their work is important to the extension of our own capacities as writers and poets. Poetry ought to be read aloud not just in the privacy of a quiet space but also as a group reading. Really, to do both is nurturing.”
Furthermore, she expresses her concern with the struggle that women continue to experience with self-expression, sexuality and genetic disposition, despite having come a long way since the publication of Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” approximately 90 years ago. She incorporates this issue into her own work:
“I look at my ancestors. I look at how strengths and weaknesses can be one and the same; I look at the paradox of being a mother and attempt to understand what sort of influence a woman has in such a position. I look at how women have managed to develop safe partnerships with their own gender over the past two centuries in the home, under a patriarchy that is now evolving. …I write about process and the various emotions that persist in our post-colonial century, our evolution as women and the plight of gender neutrality, which is a huge issue moving forward into this century.”
She is currently working on a play and a series of poems which she hopes to publish before 2018.
Sonia Di Placido is a poet, playwright, writer, actor and artist currently completing her M.A. Graduate of the Ryerson University Theatre School and Honours in Humanities from York University, Sonia has experience as a Supernumerary with the Canadian Opera Company, is a member of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers and The League of Canadian Poets. She has published poems, profile pieces, interviews and reviews in literary print and online journals as well as various anthologies: Carousel, The Toronto Quarterly Blog, The Puritan, and Jacket2.
To read the full interview and “This is Why I Called You Shrimp (or Squirt)” visit The California Journal of Women Writers: http://tcjww.org/2015/02/24/interview-sonia-di-placido/
Exaltation in Cadmium Red is available for purchase on the Guernica Editions website: http://www.guernicaeditions.com/title/9781550716184