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In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987-2011 (Wesleyan Poetry Series) Hardcover – March 3, 2014

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“As elegant as they are profound, these poems represent close to 25 years of work. In this substantial volume, Gizzi regales us with minimalist narrative, long lyrics and prose poems which are studies in human perception. Gizzi’s central theme is how the human mind converts objects and lived experiences into poetry. For Gizzi, poetry itself is a field of human experience…. As a whole, Gizzi’s “In Defense of Nothing” affirms the notion that poetry is a form of salvation for those who are willing to do the hard work of turning perceptions into the “second tongue we call grammar.” It is a book worthy of all who love art and all who love to express themselves through poetry.” —Sonja James, The Journal


“Gizzi’s poetry is ‘silly with clarity,’ infused with a restless vernacular that can elevate the mundane while making the impossible tangible.” —Publisher’s Weekly


“In Defense of Nothing Selected Poems 1987-2011 splendidly champions Gizzi as a major force in the ever-expanding vastness of the poetry world. His well-earned spot as an integral influential force of our time is thus firmly staked out.” —Patrick James Dunagan, Bookslut


“[T]his collection is a well-curated cross-section of a career that has always resisted categorization, borrowing from lyric, narrative, and avant-garde traditions. … Gizzi [is] a poet whose interest lies in articulating his experience of the world in all its disorienting glory.” —American Poets

Review

“Peter Gizzi’s poetry at once captures the deadening, and the standardization of our culture and wakes us up, makes us ‘silly with clarity.’ Through his poetry we become almost painfully attuned to the present. He can name with precision our medicated, mediated insensibility and then startle us out of anesthesia with the beauty of his singing. Gizzi can move from the ghostly, flickering edge of perceptibility to focused intensity at disorienting, Dickinsonian speed. His poetry is an example of how a poet’s total, tonal attention can disclose orders of sensation and meaning. His beautiful lines are full of deft archival allusion, and his influences range from Simonides to Schuyler, but those voices, those prosodies, aren’t ever decorative; Gizzi is gathering from the air a live tradition.” (Ben Lerner)

“Peter Gizzi’s disturbing lyricism is like no other―the innermost whir of the daily curtain rising on outer catastrophe . . . we are ‘listening to a life / un-lived any other way”―unmistakably, as poetry.” (Adrienne Rich)
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Product Details

  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan; 1st edition (March 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819574309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819574305
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,657,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By M.R. on January 18, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of note because of how the book develops from ambitious raw talent to mastery.
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Format: Paperback
Arid striving to be playful. Pretentious is not a word I use lightly, but this definitely felt like the north face of the Eiger
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