Synopses & Reviews
Passwords Primeval sets aside the artificial boundaries of poetry "schools" and "movements" to cut to the art of the matter. Tony Leuzzi's astounding knowledge of poetry draws new insights from such luminaries as Billy Collins, Gerald Stern, Jane Hirshfield, Patricia Smith, and Martín Espada. These new interviews provide insights into the poets and their poems without compromising any of their mystery. Whether you're looking for deeper understanding of your favorite poets or are simply interested in the lives of contemporary artists, Passwords Primeval reveals the interconnectedness of these masters whose voices echo each other from opposite ends of the same canyon.
A Best Book for Writers by Poets and Writers Magazine
"Poet and professor Leuzzi brings questing intelligence and a practitioner's empathy to this collection of interviews with 20 poets who are diverse in terms of aesthetic allegiance, generation, and practice. Leuzzi talks about craft, poetic history, a poet's work-life balance, and more to famous poets like Gerald Stern, Martin Espada, Patricia Smith, Mark Doty, and Billy Collins as well as to lesser-known artists like Gary Young and Bin Ramke, coaxing from all of them lengthy, intelligent responses to probing questions. Some of the best moments in these interviews come from the least expected sources, such as Young, a revered but still fairly obscure writer of quotidian prose poems who has a profound thought about a poet's hope for fame: 'If you know you're doomed to failure, then you can work freely.' Patricia Smith reflects on the process of revision that developed out of her days as a slam poet, giving the lie to the notion of the poet as hermetic: 'My process... was to go in front of all these different audiences and figure out interactively with the audience what the poem needed to be.' Espada describes how the Bush presidency turned into political writers many poets 'who don't normally speak in a political vocabulary... I felt like saying, Ã¢Â€Â˜Welcome aboard! What kept you?'Â ' The range of topics proves that poetry isn't just for poets. This book will be a joy for anyone who loves the art of conversation, not just the conversation of art." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Poet and professor, Leuzzi brings questing intelligence and a practitioner's empathy to this collection of interviews with 20 poets who are diverse in terms of aesthetic allegiance, generation, and practice... The range of topics proves that poetry isn't just for poets. This book will be a joy for anyone who loves the art of conversation, not just the conversation of art." Publishers Weekly *Starred* Review
Billy Collins, Gerald Stern, Dorianne Laux, and 17 other prominent poets candidly discuss inspiration, craft, and living as a poet.
About the Author
Tony Leuzzi is an Associate Professor of Literature and Composition at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY, where he has won a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Award and The Wesley T. Hansen for Excellence in Teaching. He has also won two grants from the New York State Council for the Arts. His feature articles and book and film criticism have been published in a wide range of journals, including Double Room, The Empty Closet, The Harvard Educational Review, Lake Affect, and In Posse Review. His second volume of poems, Radiant Losses, won the New Sins Press Editors Prize in 2009. In preparation for Passwords Primeval: 20 American Poets in Their Own Words, Leuzzi interviewed 25 American poets across a five-year span. Many of the individual interviews were first published in such journals as Arts and Letters, Jacket, Sentence, American Literary Review, Kenyon Review (online), National Poetry Review, Left Curve, Great River Review, EOAGH, and The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review.