Valentino Assenza has been a published poet and spoken word performer based in Toronto for over two decades. He was the organizer of Cryptic Chatter, a poetry series in east Toronto, and is currently on the board of directors for the Art Bar Poetry Series, Canada’s longest-running weekly poetry-only series.
Valentino has published four chapbooks of his poetry — Wandering Absence (2004) and Il Ritorno (2006) with Labour of Love Press; and Quiet Confessions of a Loudmouth (2008) and Make Our Peace with Rattlesnakes (2009) with Lyricalmyrical Press. He also has had a number of poems published in journals such as Descant Magazine and Labour of Love Poetry Magazine.
In his performance career, Valentino was a member of the Toronto Poetry Slam Team in 2009 and 2010, representing the city at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Victoria and at the National Poetry Slam in Minneapolis. He was a feature at the Eden Mills and Words Aloud festivals, and has also participated in Nuit Blanche Toronto. Over the years, Valentino has also been a sought-after feature performer for poetry and spoken word series and events across the GTA and beyond.
Since Janaury 2015 Valentino has been a co-producer and co-host of the program HOWL on CIUT 89.5FM Tuesday nights 10pm-11pm which examines writing and the writing process predominantly interviewing authors, poets, screenwriters, film makers, and songwriters. Valentino himself has since interviewed names such as George Elliot Clarke, Anne Michaels, Nino Ricci, Sook-Yin Lee, and Margaret Atwood.