Synopses & Reviews
Explosive language, rough sensuousness, and an unflinching eye — here is a poet who doesn't look away and is committed to poetrys first purpose: to bring song. Tombo
is a book of lyrics fueled in equal parts by realism and big-fish storytelling, a book of wanderers, foghorns, summer rain, feral cats, and city jazz. Built on heartbreak particulars, these poems are raw, mysterious dilations of the moments of existence. Di Pieros work has been praised by luminaries of the poetry world like Philip Levine, John Ashbery, Christian Wiman, the editor of POETRY,
and also by The New York Times,
the Philadelphia Inquirer,
and the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Di Piero (Nitro Nights), an essayist and winner of the 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, delivers an effusive and musical collection (his 11th) that traverses strange landscapes replete with 'systemic pleasures.../ that make us feel at home in our elusive lives.' The poems are propelled by an urge to surprise and enrapture. Readers are guided through a well-adorned house, with ornamentations such as 'pepper trees, olive trees, lilac,/ narcissus, jasmine.../ and mock orange and eucalyptus' sprinkled throughout, until they feel 'the nail clipping's sting in the carpet.' However, the poems 'bite you/ with longing for relief from love,' piling abstraction upon abstraction until the intended meaning becomes either too distilled or too opaque. Too much feels overcooked, leaving one to wonder with Di Piero, 'When will you override what's imperfect/ and simply play?' The title poem describes a crazed man shoeless in a supermarket; the speaker reveals, 'I believed his happiness, and coveted/ a tidy universe.' This is painfully evident throughout, as the mess of the world receives a treatment so pristine that it's practically clinical: 'I'm complexifying, as usual,/ saying what should be simply something said.' Di Piero would do well to consider his own advice: 'Too much schoolroom poisons the idiom./ Too much reverence stinks up the joint.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
No one sounds like W.S. Di Piero. Explosive language, rough sensuousness, unflinching eyehere is a poet who will not look away, and who is always committed to poetrys first purpose: to bring song. Tombo is a book of lyrics fueled in equal parts by realism and big-fish storytelling, a book of wanderers, foghorns, summer rain, feral cats, and city jazz. Built on heartbreak particulars, these poems are raw, mysterious dilations of the moments of existence:
Life, as you say, my friend,
is lived in its transitions.
Theres a yonder
that abides right here.
It lives in the electric air
of field or room,
unseen but palpable
as snow or blowing dust.
from The Running Dog”
About the Author
W. S. Di Piero
is the author of ten books of poetry. A contributor to New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review,
the New Republic,
and many other periodicals, he also writes a monthly column on visual arts for an independent newsweekly, the San Diego Reader.
A well-known essayist on art, literature, culture, and personal experience, the latest of his five essay collections contains his recent art writings: When Can I See You Again?
Di Pieros autobiographical essays have appeared in Best American Essays,
and he's an accomplished translator of Greek and Italian poetry. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Award, he lives in San Francisco.