Poet, reviewer and artist Carla Scarano D'Antonio dies suddenly

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The co-compere of Write Out Loud Woking at the Lightbox, and a regular reviewer for Write Out Loud, Carla Scarano D’Antonio, has died suddenly and unexpectedly at her home at the age of 60.    

Italian-born Carla reviewed poetry for a number of magazines, and had published three collections of her own. Her first full collection Workwear was recently launched on Zoom, with a clutch of open-mic poets and friends supporting her. Her publisher was David Cooke, of the High Window Press. He is also editor of the quarterly online magazine The High Window, which published many of Carla’s reviews.

He said: “Carla was one of the most indefatigable and reliable reviewers for The High Window. She had also recently produced the first of her four features as its resident artist. Before her untimely death she brought out her first full collection of poems, Workwear, under the High Window imprint. She will now also be the High Window's featured poet in its summer issue. Riposa in pace, Carla, ci mancherai molto.”

Write Out Loud’s news and reviews editor, Greg Freeman, said: “I am personally devastated by Carla’s death, and I know so many others that knew her in the poetry world are, too. I still find it hard to believe. She was highly regarded not only for her own poetry, but for her generosity in reviewing others’ work, and for her sheer energy. She was regarded with warmth, admiration and love by all who knew her. As well as poetry, she reviewed art exhibitions at the Lightbox gallery with expert knowledge.”

Members of Woking Writers Circle paid tribute to Carla at a poetry evening at the Lionsheart bookshop in Woking on Wednesday night. As well as poetry and painting, Carla also produced cards, textiles (painting on fabric), crochet and jewellery. Local postboxes in her home village in Surrey were adorned with her crochet work.

At high school in Rome she studied English literature from original texts, then English at university, and started to write poetry in English, her second language, a few years before moving to the UK. In Lancaster she joined workshops at the local adult education college, went to open-mic readings, gained an MA in creative writing at Lancaster University, and self-published her first pamphlet, A Winding Road, in 2011. In 2016 she and Keith Lander won the John Dryden Translation competition, for their translations of poems by Eugenio Montale.

She moved to Surrey, joined the local Stanza poetry group, and Woking Writers Circle, and went to local poetry readings at Write Out Loud in Woking, 1000 Monkeys in Guildford, and more recently Poetry Performance at the Adelaide in Teddington. Her short collection, Negotiating Caponata, was published by Dempsey & Windle in 2020. She completed a PhD on Margaret Atwood’s work at the University of Reading, and regularly published academic articles on Atwood’s work. She was planning a trip to Canada in May to speak at an Atwood conference.

In Italy Carla was an English teacher and in England she became an Italian teacher. Greg Freeman added: “Family and food and warmth and generosity is very much how I regarded Carla. I will never forget how, only two days after moving to the north-east, we found ourselves in one of Newcastle’s most popular restaurants, celebrating her wedding anniversary at her invitation with her beloved family. A memory I will always cherish.”

Carla’s elderly mother Anna Vella still lives in Rome. She also leaves her husband, Luigi, son Lorenzo, daughter Irene, son Francesco, adopted daughter Valentina, and a granddaughter, Violetta.   

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