From Publishers Weekly
Gizzi (Artificial Heart) divides this long-awaited third collection into five parts. The first, "Forensics," proposes "A History of the Lyric" that is adamantly unwilling to dissect the patient, "empurpled, its silhouette/ ragged, silver// unquantifiable in pixie dust." As an editor, Gizzi's most recent project was The House that Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer; the "Wilderness" section that follows in this book adds on to Spicer's house with "Not a still life into which artifice may enter/ but a labor to describe the valves and cordage" of verbal structures, concluding that "every thing is poetry here." The final three sections, "Nerves," "Industry," and "Song" are best when a distinctly romantic, even utopian note breaks through, hinging a liberated eros on the weary knowledge of one's era-"Is there a score for the treatise/ you compose in rain// for the voice as it comes/ out of blankness/ liberty?"-while entertaining "An Allegory of Doubt" and "Fin Amor" alike. Gizzi's Oblek magazine was extremely influential in the late '80s and early '90s, and he has been an important teacher of young poets at Brown and (currently) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This book shows him in top form, engaging the resilience and adaptability of the title's classic lyric tropes, and working toward values for poetry and life.
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"Gizzi is a master of the mot juste and of sound structure."—Marjorie Perloff, The Boston Book Review
"Peter Gizzi writes challenging poems with substantial intellectual and emotional rewards. Taking his bearings primarily from the New York School, the San Francisco Renaissance and the Black Mountain poets, he shares with his predecessors a lyric sensibility enriched by experimental tendencies. . . . Tonally assured even as they demonstrate self-doubt, many of these poems present a recognizable world skewed by the poet's perceptions. . . . In the end, Gizzi himself is a s much a reader of the world as he is a writer."—Brian Henry, Times Literary Supplement
"His poems manage to be inventive without being impudent, gorgeous without being gaudy, and so they are free of occupational hazards of contemporary lyric poetry: presumptuous egotism, grating allusiveness, treacly insouciance."—John Palattella, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Peter Gizzi is on the quixotic mission of recovering the lyric… [He] is taking the current doubt-ridden, cross-referential ways of reading and writing to heart while holding on to the old dream of making sense.”—Andrew McCord, New York Review of Books Reader’s Catalog