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Archeophonics
     

Archeophonics

by Peter Gizzi
 

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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

Overview

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 just 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 and nothing less than joy, outrage, loss, transhistorical thought, and day-to-day life. It is a private book of public and civic concerns.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/03/2016
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.)
Library Journal
10/15/2016
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.
From the Publisher
“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.”—Publishers Weekly

“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.”—Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780819576804
Publisher:
Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
09/06/2016
Series:
Wesleyan Poetry Series
Pages:
108
Sales rank:
430,973
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.75(h) x (d)

What People are Saying About This

Adrienne Rich
“Peter Gizzi’s disturbing lyricism is like no other.”
Nathaniel Mackey
“Gizzi treads eggshell air, eggshell earth, traipse never not shadowed by collapse, as if to sound some depth, some corrected tilt or some righted something gone under, the poems an evaporative track left in its wake.”
Eileen Myles
“I like that Peter frequently over bets, this poet gets in trouble and needs the world to get him out of it. It’s like this: I saw the frill of light today/walking on the path. It’s speechy, meaning (for me) that his writing actually grows ornamental, and then suddenly it turns slight like trash in the street and it’s ravishingly strong. Gizzi’s strength is a world of big ideas buttressed by fragility and the incidental. And he’s often complaining. I’d call it girly. Even post gender. It’s strong and it’s pretty work.”

Meet the Author

PETER GIZZI is the author of six collections of poetry including Threshold Songs and In Defense of Nothing. His honors include the Lavan Younger Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets, and artist grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Howard Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He works at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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