By Peter Gizzi
Wesleyan, September 6, 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 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.
“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.” (Nathaniel Mackey, author of Nod House)
“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.” (Eileen Myles)
“Peter Gizzi’s disturbing lyricism is like no other.” (Adrienne Rich)
About 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.