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Peter Gizzi and Michael Schiavo Reading

Peter Gizzi's Book Cover

In Archeophonics, Peter Gizzi dives deep into speech and syntax to bring together emotion and philosophical inquiry. He investigates fundamental human concerns, both those that are current and urgent and those that persist beyond our urban turmoil. The book captures a cosmic loneliness in the face of our increasingly disorienting public reality. Air is a primary element in this book—the air we breathe to stay alive, the air we use to form each uttered sound. It is through language, “the ecstasy of naming,” that we shape everything we know. From molecules to galaxies, for Gizzi, everything is spinning, as he spins his piercing, lyrical lines.

About the book: 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.

About the author: Peter Gizzi is the author of seven collections of poetry includingThreshold Songs and In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987-2011, and The Outernationale. He has also published several limited-edition chapbooks, folios, and artist books. His work has been widely anthologized and translated into numerous languages. He works at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Michael Schiavo was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1976. He is the author of The Mad Song, a long meditative poem, which was composed in 10 days in September, 2006, and then self-published in 2008. It sold less than 100 copies and is currently available online in a free digital edition or for three times its original cover price on eBay. In his foreword, the poet Douglas Crase called The Mad Song “a supercollider of a poem,” comparing it favorably to Ginsberg’s Howl and Whitman’s Democratic Vistas. Crase went on to write: “Schiavo’s prosodic achievement, which arrives here with a spontaneous authority that may be harder won than he knows, resizes the necessary wisdom to a lyrical dimension that still doesn’t impede the exercise of what can only be called a transcendental citizenship. His refusal to be diminished by the country—the refusal to let the country diminish itself—is ultimately a kind of devotion.” He will read from The Mad Song and he will be reading a selection of the daily poems he’s been writing since the first day of Spring.

Read more about the event at The Bookstore.