Peter Gizzi

Book - 2016

Archeophonics is the first collection of new work from the poet Peter Gizzi in five years. Archeophonics, defined as the archeology of lost sound, is one way of understanding the role and the task of poetry: to recover the buried sounds and shapes of languages in the tradition of the art, and the multitude of private connections that lie undisclosed in one's emotional memory. The book takes seriously the opening epigraph by the late great James Schuyler: "poetry, like music, is not jus...t song." It recognizes that the poem is not a decorative art object but a means of organizing the world, in the words of anthropologist Clifford Geertz, "into transient examples of shaped behavior." Archeophonics is a series of discrete poems that are linked by repeated phrases and words, and its themes are nothing less than joy, outrage, loss, transhistorical thought, and day-to-day life. It is a private book of public and civic

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Wesleyan poetry.
Middletown, Connecticut : Wesleyan University Press [2016]
Physical Description
82 pages : color illustration ; 21 cm
Main Author
Peter Gizzi (author)
  • Archeophonics
  • Field recordings
  • When orbital proximity feels creepy
  • Release the darkness to new lichen
  • A social history of mercury
  • "The winter sun says fight"
  • This world is not conclusion
  • Night work
  • Song
  • Google Earth
  • Rainy days and Mondays
  • Instagrammar
  • Antico adagio
  • Pretty sweety
  • A ghosting floral
  • A garden in the air
  • Sentences in a synapse field
  • How to read
  • Civil twilight
  • A winding sheet for summer
  • Bewitched.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In his eighth collection, Gizzi (In Defense of Nothing) continues his quest to renew lyricism, to find "a language to eat the sky" and "say goodbye" to the receding past. Like James Schuyler, from whom the book's epigraph is pulled, Gizzi is an acute chronicler of atmosphere, and many of these poems find the poet in uncertain emotional and physical landscapes, struggling to write his way into the future. "I wanted out of the past so I ate the air,/ it took me further into the air," begins the sequence "A Winding Sheet for Summer." Longtime Gizzi readers won't find many surprises in this tenuous, overcast collection-"I've been here before," he writes in one poem-but his ear remains as appealing as ever, and his paratactic syntax still surprises line by line: "You wonder summer's terabyte/ here on the terra forming/ floating and atomizing,/ giving over to shadow,/ then a muffler rumbling,/ distant engine, a little cozy." Stylistically, the collection is nearlyimpeccable but a bit weightless; its major struggles seem either intellectualized or kind of off-stage. At their warmest, Gizzi's poems offer genuinely moving confrontations with mortality, history, and tradition: "This hammering/ thing, life as I've/ known it, know me,/ is over. I might as well/ say it./ The apples lie/ scattered on the ground." (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review by Library Journal Review

Award-winning poet Gizzi here uses spare, focused language to reflect on language itself: its origins, structure, uses, and music. "The old language/ says the apple/ is the old apple," he proclaims, reflecting how words are rooted deep down in our past. But as language complexified, it gave that apple "all/ the dance floor/ she needed," and "hot syntax" has remade our view of the world ("I hate that, when syntax/ connects me to the rich"). Hence our need-and our difficulty-in separating appearance from reality, effluence from essence; the "static lovely" of what we want to communicate must traverse "a grubby transom." But what better tool for expressing "this hammering/ thing, life"? VERDICT Maybe tough sledding for the less intellectually inclined, yet seasoned readers shouldn't miss. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.