VERTICAL BRIDGES               










Poems and Photographs of City Steps by Paola Corso 

(Six Gallery Press, Fall 2020)

“Under Corso’s nimble juggling of words and images staircases become the soul of a city, and Pittsburgh’s city staircases become a series of paths leading elsewhere—from China to Norway, from Italy back to the Three Rivers again. Together these narratives construct a fascinating ecology of urban spaces, emphasizing the delicate lives and quotidian strength of those who climb up and down: workers, immigrants, children, lovers.  In each direction, these poetic flights offer an all-encompassing view.”           —LAURA E. RUBERTO, Berkeley City College 

“In poems contemplative, lyric, hybrid, and explosive, Corso stays true to her working-class roots. This book is an ethnography of steps, a method of ascent crafted by artisans – like these poems – through back-breaking toil. But Corso’s poems scale other heights as well into social consciousness, advocacy, empathy and action, abiding love, acceptance. She celebrates those who climb them: the downtrodden and demonized; the invisible; the fellaheen; the immigrant, including her Calabrian father and Sicilian grandfather. This is a remarkably imaginative book – replete with archival photographs and equally stunning photographs by Corso herself. Her unforgettable steps are the slow climb to Heaven.”

 —JOSEPH BATHANTI, North Carolina Poet Laureate (2012-14) and author of East Liberty


"Pittsburghers will love Paola Corso's mix of poetry and poetic imagery in Vertical Bridges, from histories of the city’s staircases to stories that unfolded along them over time. It’s good to see stairways being celebrated, preserved, and loved—in print and in real life.”  

 —BRIAN A. BUTKO, Heinz History Center, award-winning author of popular history


 “I have expressed Pittsburgh’s city steps using maps and photographs. Here Paola Corso has done so with words and style, imagery and feelings. She offers a delightful way to experience the steps not only in Pittsburgh but around the world.”

—BOB REGAN, The Steps of Pittsburgh

Read an Excerpt.


Read a Pennsylvania School Librarian's Assn Book Review. Pittsburgh City Paper InterviewOvunque Siamo Book Review.


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Copyright © 2020 Paola Corso. All Rights Reserved.

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