Hardback
March 3, 2014
9780819574305
English
244
8.25 Inches (US)
6.13 Inches (US)
1.1 Pounds (US)
$26.95 USD, £20.95 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
March 3, 2014
9780819574312
English
244
8.25 Inches (US)
6.13 Inches (US)
$14.99 USD, £11.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
April 8, 2015
9780819575647
English
244
8.25 Inches (US)
6.13 Inches (US)
.85 Pounds (US)
$18.95 USD, £14.95 GBP
v2.1 Reference

In Defense of Nothing

Selected Poems, 1987–2011

Runner-up for the William Carlos Williams Award (2015)

Since his celebrated first book of poetry, Peter Gizzi has been hailed as one of the most significant and distinctive voices writing today. Gathered from over five collections, and representing close to twenty-five years of work, the poems in this generous selection strike a dynamic balance of honesty, emotion, intellectual depth and otherworldly resonance—in Gizzi's work, poetry itself becomes a primary ground of human experience. Haunted, vibrant, and saturated with luminous detail, Gizzi's poetry enlists the American vernacular in a magical and complex music. In Defense of Nothing is an immensely valuable introduction to the work of this extraordinary and singular poet. Check for the online reader's companion at http://petergizzi.site.weleyan.edu.

About the Author

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

Reviews

"As elegant as they are profound, these poems represent close to 25 years of work. In this substantial volume, Gizzi regales us with minimalist narrative, long lyrics and prose poems which are studies in human perception. Gizzi's central theme is how the human mind converts objects and lived experiences into poetry. For Gizzi, poetry itself is a field of human experience. ... As a whole, Gizzi's In Defense of Nothing affirms the notion that poetry is a form of salvation for those who are willing to do the hard work of turning perceptions into the 'second tongue we call grammar'. It is a book worthy of all who love art and all who love to express themselves through poetry."—Sonja James, The Journal

"Peter Gizzi's poetry at once captures the deadening, and the standardization of our culture and wakes us up, makes us 'silly with clarity.' Through his poetry we become almost painfully attuned to the present. He can name with precision our medicated, mediated insensibility and then startle us out of anesthesia with the beauty of his singing. Gizzi can move from the ghostly, flickering edge of perceptibility to focused intensity at disorienting, Dickinsonian speed. His poetry is an example of how a poet's total, tonal attention can disclose orders of sensation and meaning. His beautiful lines are full of deft archival allusion, and his influences range from Simonides to Schuyler, but those voices, those prosodies, aren't ever decorative; Gizzi is gathering from the air a live tradition."—Ben Lerner

"Gizzi's poems lead you to think that building that flower would not only create something enjoyable but also make something useful. It will lead you somewhere unexpected. It could save the day."—Tim Wood, Colorado Review

"I have been enamored of Gizzi's work for some time and to have such a generous and encompassing dose of his poems in one book is a true and inexhaustible gift. I love how these poems open and open. The result is a poetic line that disorients as well as recalibrates the reading toward other possibilities, the way, as Gizzi writes, 'death and the imagination equals life itself.'"—Ocean Vuong, Poetry Foundation/Harriet Blog, "Reading List: December 2014"

"[A] significant retrospective of the work of poet Peter Gizzi. [It] samples nearly twenty-five years of his poems but finds a new order and a new context for them."—Alex Dueben, Paris Review

"[T]his collection is a well-curated cross-section of a career that has always resisted categorization, borrowing from lyric, narrative, and avant-garde traditions. Gizzi [is] a poet whose interest lies in articulating his experience of the world in all its disorienting glory."—Academy of American Poets

"In Defense of Nothing Selected Poems 1987-2011 splendidly champions Gizzi as a major force in the ever-expanding vastness of the poetry world. His well-earned spot as an integral influential force of our time is thus firmly staked out."—Patrick James Dunagan, Bookslut

"As elegant as they are profound, these poems represent close to 25 years of work. In this substantial volume, Gizzi regales us with minimalist narrative, long lyrics and prose poems which are studies in human perception. Gizzi's central theme is how the human mind converts objects and lived experiences into poetry. For Gizzi, poetry itself is a field of human experience. As a whole, Gizzi's In Defense of Nothing affirms the notion that poetry is a form of salvation for those who are willing to do the hard work of turning perceptions into the 'second tongue we call grammar'. It is a book worthy of all who love art and all who love to express themselves through poetry."—Sonja James, The Journal

"Gizzi's poetry is 'silly with clarity', infused with a restless vernacular that can elevate the mundane while making the impossible tangible."—Publishers Weekly

Endorsements

"Peter Gizzi's poetry at once captures the deadening, and the standardization of our culture and wakes us up, makes us 'silly with clarity.' Through his poetry we become almost painfully attuned to the present. He can name with precision our medicated, mediated insensibility and then startle us out of anesthesia with the beauty of his singing. Gizzi can move from the ghostly, flickering edge of perceptibility to focused intensity at disorienting, Dickinsonian speed. His poetry is an example of how a poet's total, tonal attention can disclose orders of sensation and meaning. His beautiful lines are full of deft archival allusion, and his influences range from Simonides to Schuyler, but those voices, those prosodies, aren't ever decorative; Gizzi is gathering from the air a live tradition."—Ben Lerner

"Peter Gizzi's disturbing lyricism is like no other—the innermost whir of the daily curtain rising on outer catastrophe . . . we are 'listening to a life / un-lived any other way"—unmistakably, as poetry."—Adrienne Rich
Wesleyan University Press
Wesleyan Poetry Series

9780819574305 : in-defense-of-nothing-gizzi
Hardback
244 Pages
$26.95 USD
9780819574312 : in-defense-of-nothing-gizzi
Electronic book text
244 Pages
$14.99 USD
9780819575647 : in-defense-of-nothing-gizzi
Paperback / softback
244 Pages
$18.95 USD

Other Titles by Peter Gizzi

Now It's Dark

Peter Gizzi
Dec 2020 - Wesleyan University Press
$35.00 USD - Hardback
$15.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Archeophonics

Peter Gizzi
Oct 2017 - Wesleyan University Press
$24.95 USD - Hardback
$12.99 USD - Electronic book text
$15.95 USD - Paperback / softback

The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest

Barbara Guest, edited by Hadley Guest, OtherPeter Gizzi
May 2016 - Wesleyan University Press
$27.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$22.99 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles from Wesleyan Poetry Series

Asked What Has Changed

Ed Roberson
Mar 2021 - Wesleyan University Press
$35.00 USD - Hardback

Magnified

Minnie Bruce Pratt
Mar 2021 - Wesleyan University Press
$24.95 USD - Hardback
$14.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Xicancuicatl

Alfred Arteaga
Oct 2020 - Wesleyan University Press
$24.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$65.00 USD - Hardback
$19.99 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in POETRY / General

BAX 2020

Seth Abramson
Dec 2020 - Wesleyan University Press
$55.00 USD - Hardback
$19.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Bread Crumbs

Cynthia Tremblay
Jun 2020 - Lynx House Press
$12.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Sleeping and Waking

Albert Goldbarth
May 2020 - Lost Horse Press
$18.00 USD - Paperback / softback