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Georgian Court Celebrates National Poetry Month with Poetry Readings

John Petrolino and Franco D’ Alessandro to Share the Power of Verse

Lakewood, N.J., Apr. 15, 2010—Georgian Court is going to get a bit more creative as the university celebrates National Poetry Month with poets John Petrolino and Franco D’ Alessandro. The two poets will give readings on the Lakewood campus on April 21 and 22, respectively. Both will take place in the Little Theatre at 6:00 p.m.

John Petrolino’s reading on Wednesday, April 21, at 6:00 p.m. is presented by Sigma Mu, the Georgian Court chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. Mr. Petrolino, a United States Merchant Marine, is the author of two volumes of poetry: Congo Lights and Galleria. His work has been printed a number of publications, including The Idiom Magazine, Eviscerator Heaven, The Bradstock Journal, Write On!!! Magazette, West Ward Quarterly, The Istanbul Literary Review, Exit 13, and The Sandstorm Gallery.

Mr. Petrolino is also the creator of the River Read Reading series in Red Bank, N.J., which features different poets and writers each month. Performances are held the second Sunday of each month. Past poets and performers have included Jim Purcell, Chris McIntyre, Susan Tepper, and Erin Baird.

“We need poetry more today than any other time because it is a dying art and, in particular, students and young people need to learn that there is more to poetry than dead, dust-covered books,” says Mr. Petrolino. “Poetry is alive, and it is around us.”

Franco D’ Alessandro’s reading on Thursday, April 22, at 6:00 p.m. is presented by the GCU Department of English and Communications. The native New Yorker, who is fluent in English and Italian, has found success as both a poet and a playwright, giving him a unique ability to connect with readers and listeners on a range of intellectual and emotional levels. Attendees will enjoy hearing Mr. D’Alessandro discuss his new chapbook of poems, Supplications: Immediate Poems of Loss and Love, and the experiences—including his mother’s 2005 death—that shaped his writing material. He’ll also share his experience in creating 12 professional productions of his work for off-Broadway and on regional and international stages. His 2002 off-Broadway hit, Roman Nights, explores the artist-muse paradigm, vis-à-vis the tumultuous and dramatic life of stage and screen legend Anna Magnani and her inspirational friendship with the great playwright, Tennessee Williams. The play, a critical and commercial success in New York and London, is running in Prague, where it has been sold out for three years.

Mr. D’Alessandro holds a certificate of filmmaking from New York University and a master’s degree in English literature education from Fordham University.

Pamela Rader, Ph.D., GCU assistant professor of English, wrote the foreword to Mr. D’Alessandro’s Supplications and invited him to give a reading on campus because of his powerful imagery and diction. She says: “Poetry might come from an individual who has had his or her particular experiences, but the language of poetry comes from  the human heart and touches each of us in its own way, at a given time.”

Both events are FREE, but reservations are required by contacting the Office of Conferences and Special Events at 732.987.2263 or

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at One Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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