KATONAH, New York, November 1 /PRNewswire/ --

- With Photo

Joseph Tusiani, the international classicist, author and poet, addressed an enthralled audience last evening at The Montfort Academy in Katonah, NY. His topic, "Beyond Romance: Why Latin Lives and is Still the Lingua Franca," was presented as part of the Lawrence E. Auriana Distinguished Speakers series at the classical high school.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20071031/NYW036 )

Just prior to this speech, Tusiani met privately with the Montfort students to discuss the importance of their study of the classics and the ways in which learning Latin improves their minds. During the talk, he also shared very personal reflections, including his experiences as an altar boy serving at the feet of now Saint Padre Pio and how he met his father for the first time at the age of 24, an experience captured in a book he later wrote called La Parola Difficile, or The Difficult Word.

In return the students joined in the public program by reading two of Tusiani's poems, each presented in Latin, Italian and English. They then presented the poet with a laurel wreath, proclaiming him Montfort's "poet laureate."

Tusiani's resume consists of a wide array of literary achievements including the first and only English translation of "The Complete Poems of Michelangelo." He is the author of two novels, an autobiography and many poems. He won the prestigious Greenwood Prize for his poem "The Return" and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award for his play in verse "If Gold Should Rust."

In 1963, he was chosen to participate in a venture called "Poetry in Crystal," during which the Steuben Glass Company invited 31 sculptors to visualize in crystal the poems of the 31 best known American poets of the time. Tusiani's poem "Standstill" was interpreted by artist George Thompson. That same year, President Kennedy invited Tusiani to record his poetry for the archives of the Library of Congress in Washington.

The Montfort Academy's Lawrence E. Auriana Distinguished Speakers Series is designed to bring nationally or internationally known leaders to the community. The series takes its name from Montfort board member Larry Auriana, Founder and Chairman of Federated Kaufman Funds and Chairman of The Columbus Citizens Foundation. Past speakers have included Senator Rick Santorum, Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman Robert Hormats, and former NYC Police Commissioner Howard Safir. The Montfort Academy is Westchester County's only classical high school for boys and girls, focusing on academic excellence and character development.

-- Full photo caption: Gathered at The Montfort Academy in Katonah for a recent "Distinguished Speakers" event were (l to r) The Honorable Richard Greco, Chairman and Founder of the Academy; poet and Latin scholar Joseph Tusiani, who spoke about the value of studying Latin today; Lawrence Auriana, advisor to the Montfort Board and sponsor of the speakers series; and Michael Tusiani, the poet's brother who is Chairman and CEO of Poten and Partners. Students read Tusiani's poems in three languages and presented him with a laurel wreath, naming him their "poet laureate." For more information about The Montfort Academy, call +1-914-767-0325 or go to www.themontfortacademy.org.

Contact: Nancy Gold The Gold Standard +1-914-232-6583 marketing@thegoldstandard.com

Note to Editors:

A picture accompanying this release is available from the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) at http://www.epa-photos.com

Web site: http://www.themontfortacademy.org

Nancy Gold of The Gold Standard, +1-914-232-6583, marketing@thegoldstandard.com, for The Montfort Academy. Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20071031/NYW036 , PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com