Peter Gizzi's new book negotiates the intersection of artifice and the turbulent domain of feeling. The book recuperates the concerns of the 11th-century troubadour poets -- the hermetic display of love, politics, statehood, and grief -- in the present. Formally the collection is a sampling of lyric history from the troubadours to post- industrial punk: it sustains the haunting quality of a song heard from a distance, overlayed with playground noise, lovers' oaths and cries of loss. The poems both celebrate and challenge the spell of the physical world over the imagination, narrating the gap between embrace and abandonment.
Peter Gizzi was born in 1959 and grew up in Massachusetts. His publications include Periplum (Avec), Music for Films (Paradigm, 1992), and Hours of the Book (Zasterle). He has edited the magazine o.blek, the anthology Exact Change Yearbook, and The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer (Wesleyan UP).
"There is a darkness at the heart of Peter Gizzi's new collection of poems, Artificial Heart, that is far from artificial. It is the all-too-natural darkness at the center of being- there: an originary absence that, as in the myth of Orpheus cannot be rescued by representation. Yet it is precisely the poet's task to undertake this rescue. Gizzi's work here follows the Orphic path of Spicer and Rilke."
– Andrew Joron, Hambone
"In his visionary quest, his raw emotion, and his New York school spontaneity, Gizzi performs a clinamen that relates him to O'Hara, Ashbery, and, beyond these poets, to Rimbaud and Hart Crane.... a master of the mot juste and of sound structure. Most of the book's poems... are as memorable as they are moving and spare."
– Marjorie Perloff, The Boston Book Review
"This is a valuable collection, both for the issues it raises and for the simple pleasure of beautifully crafted language."
– Cole Swensen, The Germ
"A sense of personal displacement has been made into a shared cultural dislocation.... There's a sensual intelligence working in these poems in which ideas are generated out of the rich sound of language and its images. These are poems of space and light, and also things [like] too many skateboards in the bright California sun."
– Alan Gilbert, Chicago Review
"Artificial Heart is as nimble and full of wit as it is knowing and 'versed' in poetic device and literary history. Gizzi employs humor and imagination to push at the envelope of rationality obscuring our vision like a cataract."
– John Olson, The Seattle Stranger