The Canadian cultural treasure, Labour of Love poetry magazine has just released its final issue.

Labour of Love has given many of Canada’s finest poets their start; Valentino Assenza and the late Nik Beat are just two of the many examples, poets who have inspired others to go out find their own unique voice.

Canadian poet Thomas Scott (Gref Editions), who also got his start in the magazine, once told me, “Norman Cristofoli (the publisher) should be granted the Order of Ontario for his contribution to Canadian culture.” I fully agree. I also feel that Labour of Love has a lot to do with the diversity and uniqueness of the Toronto Poetry Scene that grew up around the Renaissance Cafe, giving publication and awarding the originality of poets who would otherwise be shut out of, or fallen victim to the white washing effect of the academic poetry journals. Norman lives art and surrounds himself with great art by others. His house is like a gallery and his hobby of collecting great artists and bringing them together has cemented Labour of Love’s legacy.

My first poetry publication was in issue #33 “Ascension.” Issue #34, “Dumpster, New York City” was the first appearance of my popular poem, “Lot.” I also shot the photos for the five collectable covers for issue #36.

I attribute the genesis of my success in poetry to being published in this magazine. I firmly believe there would be no “Pressure to Sing” if it weren’t for Labour of Love. After reading my work in Labour of Love, Cheryl Antao Xavier of IOWI came to see me read poetry at the Moonshine Cafe in Oakville Ontario and offered me a publishing deal. Labour of Love publisher, Norman Cristofoli edited the book.

Thank you Norman for everything you’ve done and for furthering the art of poetry. Labour of Love will be missed.

To learn more about Labour of Love, its publisher, and why it’s closing its doors, you can read a fine interview with Norman Cristofoli by Leah Angstman in “the Coil” here:


Also, check out my poem, “For Joe, Who Ended His Own Life” in Labour of Love — poetry magazine, #41 R.I.P. The Last Issue. 

Summer 2016, ISSN 1192-621x

Labour of Love Magazine, Brandon Pitts, Norman Cristofoli, Valentino Assenza