Paola (P.J.) Corso is the author of seven poetry and fiction books set in her native Pittsburgh where her Southern Italian immigrant family worked in the steel mills. Her books include the newly released VERTICAL BRIDGES: POEMS AND PHOTOGRAPHS OF CITY STEPS, THE LAUNDRESS CATCHES HER BREATH, winner of the Tillie Olsen Award in Creative Writing, ONCE I WAS TOLD THE AIR WAS NOT FOR BREATHING winner of a Triangle Fire Memorial Association Award, CATINA'S HAIRCUT: A NOVEL IN STORIES, a Sons of Italy National Book Club Selection; GIOVANNA'S 86 CIRCLES AND OTHER STORIES, a John Gardner Fiction Book Award Finalist on the Pennsylvania School Librarian Association's "Top 40 Young Adult Fiction List," and DEATH BY RENAISSANCE with archival and original photographs by George Thomas Mendel.
She is co-editor with Dr. Nandita Ghosh of POLITICS OF WATER: A CONFLUENCE OF WOMEN'S VOICES, a special issue of the International Journal of Politics published by Routledge.
Her work has appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, USA Today, Women’s Review of Books, Writer’s Digest, U.S. Catholic, The Progressive, WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA HISTORY MAGAZINE, and numerous ANTHOLOGIES.
Honors include a NEW YORK FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS POETRY FELLOWSHIP, SHERWOOD ANDERSON FICTION PRIZE, inclusion on PENNSYLVANIA CENTER FOR THE BOOK'S LITERARY MAP, POETS OUT LOUD FINALS JUDGE, and a National Endowment for the Arts WritersCorps Artist Residency.
She has given readings and presented workshops at venues across the country such as the PITTSBURGH CITY STEPS SYMPOSIUM, American Labor Museum, Associated Writing Programs, Italian American Studies Association, New York University's Casa Italiana, New Jersey Library Association, New York Public Library, Northeastern University, Oregon State University’s Water Institute, PEN American Writing Institute, Pennsylvania State University, Working Class Studies Association, State University of New York, and University of Pittsburgh.
Corso has taught writing in the community with the National Endowment for the Arts WritersCorps, the National Writer’s Union’s New York Local, and in graduate MFA programs as a writer-in-residence at Western Connecticut State University and lecturer at Chatham University. She currently teaches in the Department of Languages and Literature at TOURO COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY SYSTEM.
A literary activist whose community service was recognized by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Corso is co-founder/resident artist of STEPPIN STANZAS, a grant-awarded poetry and art project celebrating city steps. As a member of the PARK SLOPE WINDSOR TERRACE ARTISTS COLLECTIVE, she exhibits her PHOTOGRAPHS in libraries, galleries, and open studios and has created photo magnets and bookmarks available at bookstores and gift shops.
Corso earned her bachelor's degree from Boston College, master's degrees in creative writing from The City College of New York–City University of New York, and in public administration/community organizing from San Francisco State University. She is a graduate of the University of Denver’s Publishing Institute.
Corso divides her time between New York City’s grid and Pittsburgh’s grade.
Copyright © 2020 Paola Corso. All Rights Reserved.