Threshold Songs

Threshold Songs

by Peter Gizzi
     
 

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About Threshold Songs, the voices in these poems perform at the interior thresholds encountered each day, where we negotiate the unfathomable proximities of knowing and not knowing, the gulf of seeing and feeling, the uncanny relation of grief to joy, and the borderless nature of selfhood and tradition. Both conceptual and haunted, these poems explore the asymmetry of…  See more details below

Overview

About Threshold Songs, the voices in these poems perform at the interior thresholds encountered each day, where we negotiate the unfathomable proximities of knowing and not knowing, the gulf of seeing and feeling, the uncanny relation of grief to joy, and the borderless nature of selfhood and tradition. Both conceptual and haunted, these poems explore the asymmetry of the body’s chemistry and its effects on expression and form. The poems in Threshold Songs tune us to the microtonal music of speaking and being spoken. Check for the online reader’s companion at http://petergizzi.site.wesleyan.edu.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gizzi can be as sly and digressive as the New York School poets, as challenging and idiomatic as the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, but he differentiates himself from both tribes by pushing his poems toward a place where the making of meaning is still his foremost desire, especially in this, his fifth, and most personal book. “The grass inside/ the song stains me,” he writes in “Basement Song,” “The mother stains me.” Gizzi’s poems are filled with the same intricacies that enamor us of certain songs: the rhythmic flourishes startle but never betray his cadence, the timbres of his words share as much dissonance as they do harmony, and over everything is the lyric, the voice, speaking to us with urgency and occasion. These elements combine most powerfully in “History Is Made at Night,” a 10-part sequence in which Gizzi tackles the great subjects while lying awake in bed. “I never see through you,” he writes, “but through you the joy/ of all that is there anyway,/ singing.” Like any tune, when Gizzi’s lyrics, rhythm, and pitch all operate on different wavelengths, the engine falls apart. But a great lyric will always justify a discordant backing band, and Gizzi knows this, singing over his own wall of sound, “I love you/ like dirt.” (Sept.)
From the Publisher

“Gizzi’s fifth collection, is his most profoundly rueful and wildly humoured work to date. This is a wintry ‘un gathering’ of poems, sung in the name of ‘Tradition & The Indivisible Talent’ – a company whose ghosts include Basil Bunting, W.S. Graham and the late R.F. Langley.”—Best Books of 2011, Times Literary Supplement

“(Gizzi’s) innovation has been to treat the lyric like a big radio antenna, simultaneously transmitting and receiving eerie broadcasts from the air.” —Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker

“Peter Gizzi’s poems have always walked a line between stylized opacity and friendly, if melancholy, accessibility, enacting an argument about whether language is esoteric or generic, personal or public, our salvation from commerce or hopelessly commoditized. This argument is at the heart of much contemporary poetry, but for Gizzi it also represents an interior struggle between the need to disclose emotion with words and the need to hide it behind words. The interplay between these two ideas has never been stronger than in his new collection"—Craig Morgan Teicher, Bookforum

“…he differentiates himself…by pushing his poems toward a place where the making of meaning is st ill his foremost desire, especially in this, his fifth, and most personal book.” —Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780819571755
Publisher:
Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
09/15/2011
Series:
Wesleyan Poetry Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
104
File size:
269 KB

What People are saying about this

Rae Armantrout
“Gizzi’s poems reach persistently for what comes to seem like the ghost of the beauty of the world.”
Charles Bernstein
“Threshold Songs, as the title suggests, pushes against both abstraction and lyric voicing, ensnaring the close listener in an intensifying cascade of dissociative rhythms and discursive constellations. Songs also say, saying also sings. And what at first seems to resist song becomes song. These enthralling, sometime soaring, poems approach, without dwelling in, elegy. They are the soundtrack of a political and cultural moment whose echoic presence Gizzi makes as viscous as the ‘dark blooming surfs of winter ice.’”

Meet the Author

PETER GIZZI is the author of The Outernationale, Some Values of Landscape and Weather, Artificial Heart, and Periplum. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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