Synopses & Reviews
W. S. Di Piero, a fresh and powerful voice in American poetry, opens this collection about public and private worlds with poems that revisit the deaths of his parents. It is an important adult passage for him, and for them a last chance to leave a message: his father lying in bed, “bemused and contemptuous / of the hell in which he lay”; his mother soon to be laid out in the cheap gold flats “that made her look young and men look twice.” Di Piero writes poems of relationships, of ordinary beauty, of the deep, visceral memories that shape who we become. He reveals the art in the everyday—sometimes literally, as when he spies a Vermeer beauty in a girl with nose studs at the ATM, or van Goghs self-portrait in a small-time bookie. Whether describing the uncertainty of sexual love (“. . . your footpads / wet after a bath / left prints like / our conversations / every which way”) or a panhandler in Port Authority (“Show you to your bus / or an excellent candy bar?”), he is delicate and direct at once, a no-nonsense guide to his surroundings who is moved by what he sees. His strong, elegantly simple statements of truths of feeling go beyond the pleasure of the words themselves and restore us to the thrill of honesty in our own lives.
About the Author
W. S. Di Piero was born in South Philadelphia in 1945. He is the author of six previous books of poetry, and the translator of three volumes from the Italian. He writes about art for the San Diego Reader and has published three collections of essays and criticism on art, literature and personal experience. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Lila Wallace- Readers Digest Writers Award. He lives in San Francisco and teaches at Stanford University.