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This selection of W. S. Di Piero’s poems, covering eight individual collections over the last quarter century and offering fifteen strong new poems, is a chance to savor the career of a poet enthralled by the seductive music of life as it is lived. Here are Di Piero’s consuming preoccupations: the pull of faith and the suspicion of transcendence; urban worlds and the myste This selection of W. S. Di Piero’s poems, covering eight individual collections over the last quarter century and offering fifteen strong new poems, is a chance to savor the career of a poet enthralled by the seductive music of life as it is lived. Here are Di Piero’s consuming preoccupations: the pull of faith and the suspicion of transcendence; urban worlds and the mysterious jazz of street language; desire and sexual need and love and loss, everything marked by what one early poem calls “the bruise of chance.” Through it all, Di Piero delivers what he has called, in William James’s phrase, “the hard, bright particulars of physical existence.” No poet is more visceral; these poems carry the sparkling tension and urgency of an artist who does not write or live intellectually, but locally. Di Piero’s sensibility seems to spring from the mood on the streets of San Francisco or float down from the flung-open shutters in his ancestors’ Italian villages; the economy of his language has its source in his native South Philly, where “When I was young, they taught us not to ask. / Accept what’s there . . . Brick homes, Your Show of Shows, / the mothball fleet and flaring oilworks.” “Poetry exists not to simplify our sense of life and death but to absorb and express its complexities and mixed tones,” Di Piero has written. Throughout this volume, those tones are at play, as this essential poet squares up in front of experience and all it brings.


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This selection of W. S. Di Piero’s poems, covering eight individual collections over the last quarter century and offering fifteen strong new poems, is a chance to savor the career of a poet enthralled by the seductive music of life as it is lived. Here are Di Piero’s consuming preoccupations: the pull of faith and the suspicion of transcendence; urban worlds and the myste This selection of W. S. Di Piero’s poems, covering eight individual collections over the last quarter century and offering fifteen strong new poems, is a chance to savor the career of a poet enthralled by the seductive music of life as it is lived. Here are Di Piero’s consuming preoccupations: the pull of faith and the suspicion of transcendence; urban worlds and the mysterious jazz of street language; desire and sexual need and love and loss, everything marked by what one early poem calls “the bruise of chance.” Through it all, Di Piero delivers what he has called, in William James’s phrase, “the hard, bright particulars of physical existence.” No poet is more visceral; these poems carry the sparkling tension and urgency of an artist who does not write or live intellectually, but locally. Di Piero’s sensibility seems to spring from the mood on the streets of San Francisco or float down from the flung-open shutters in his ancestors’ Italian villages; the economy of his language has its source in his native South Philly, where “When I was young, they taught us not to ask. / Accept what’s there . . . Brick homes, Your Show of Shows, / the mothball fleet and flaring oilworks.” “Poetry exists not to simplify our sense of life and death but to absorb and express its complexities and mixed tones,” Di Piero has written. Throughout this volume, those tones are at play, as this essential poet squares up in front of experience and all it brings.

39 review for Chinese Apples: New and Selected Poems

  1. 5 out of 5

    C. Varn

    Piero is one of those poets who refreshes everyday language in deceptively precise ways. Full of language of Philly streets and yet subtle the observation of character, Piero is a surprisingly diverse poet and this collect makes that abundantly clear.

  2. 4 out of 5

    H

    "Someday I'll smoke Camels, my father's brand, then Gauloises to prove I'm stronger than him in burning whatever's inside that won't sleep." -"Smoke" from The Only Dangerous Thing (1984) "I thought the child hooting at a ruff of fallen leaves would shovel them at me like a war or bridal game, but the armfuls scooped above her head rattled down, wrinkled flames on her shoulders, and she tested its atomized perfume, clapping her orange mittens, fall's first child, hollering Come down here, you! That's when I "Someday I'll smoke Camels, my father's brand, then Gauloises to prove I'm stronger than him in burning whatever's inside that won't sleep." -"Smoke" from The Only Dangerous Thing (1984) "I thought the child hooting at a ruff of fallen leaves would shovel them at me like a war or bridal game, but the armfuls scooped above her head rattled down, wrinkled flames on her shoulders, and she tested its atomized perfume, clapping her orange mittens, fall's first child, hollering Come down here, you! That's when I felt most alive inside matter's reechy stuff, unseen, intensely real." -"All in One Day" from Brother Fire (2004) I envy this man's vision and vocabulary. From "crummy" to "febrile" to "dirigible," all his words are equally charged, all trenchant of quiddity. He enacts what Valery declared: "A poet's function--do not be startled by this remark--is not to experience the poetic state: that is a private affair. His function is to create it in others." And: "The man of genius is the one who infuses genius into me."

  3. 4 out of 5

    John

    A rich, feeling-full, and unusually varied career retrospective, from a badly undervalued and altogether marvelous poet. DiPiero is respectful of form and history, yet he also has the grasp of sensual immediacy that distinguishes the best of the Beats. See especially the two later sequences having to do with remembrances of and revisits to Italian-American South Philly (on the frayed edge of African-American ditto).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Simply beautiful. I will buy this anthology for my personal collection.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brenna

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian Spears

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather KD

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  11. 4 out of 5

    🐝 Hannah 🐝

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nysha

  13. 4 out of 5

    David

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  15. 4 out of 5

    Schottsy

    a gift from a dear friend... Favorite poem: Night-Lights Providence Amtrak Station Thank you GM

  16. 5 out of 5

    cindy

  17. 5 out of 5

    K.M.

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Ruekberg

  19. 4 out of 5

    Russel

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shane

  21. 5 out of 5

    Steven Felicelli

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ross Brian Stager

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zoland Poetry

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wordstock - Portland's Literary Festival

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

  27. 4 out of 5

    M

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  30. 5 out of 5

    Haofanyi wang

  31. 5 out of 5

    Stef

  32. 5 out of 5

    Candice

  33. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  34. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

  35. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  36. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Parker

  37. 4 out of 5

    abcdefg

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jerrod

  39. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

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