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Threshold Songs (Wesleyan Poetry) [Paperback]

Peter Gizzi

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Book Description

24 Oct 2012 Wesleyan Poetry
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

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Product details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press; Reprint edition (24 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819573477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819573476
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 15.3 x 0.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 450,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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

About the Author

Peter Gizziis the author of The Outernationale, Some Values of Landscape and Weather, Artificial Heart, and Periplum. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and Beautiful 26 Mar 2013
By Clair Fitz - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a transcendent work. You will read and re-read these poems and always find more to feel and more to think about.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb collection 13 Feb 2012
By J from NY - Published on
Peter Gizzi is one of the most talented poets of our generation as he proves with this sparse, phenomenal collection, "Threshold Songs".

Gizzi's style is dizzying in the same way that a painting beginning to drool is dizzying--his phantom like dissection table of poems, really in no one fixed form, is like reading a chat between a man and Kant's "The Thing In Itself". Example, and my personal favorite:


What do you see when you see a dress sounding in deep indigo, a head made of text, a paper halo torn about the head.

What do you see when you see the shape of a hare and a galaxy, a river and some rushes, when you see the outline of the hare and its positive adrift.

What do you see when you read left to right, a cartoon boy on a cartoon lawn, arms outstretched, when you see the word SUN in block capitals over there, a shaft of whiteout above the hare leaping into an unked heart into a ghost boy into a green ray into space.

You'll see the read and blue shift, you'll see orbiting patterns, and now you see a woman buried in sepia with child."

This is verbal wizardry at it's highest, recalling Wallace Stevens at his most obscure and most brilliant, and Hart Crane at his best. One could too easily categorize this as "conceptual poetry"--I think that pigeonholes what Gizzi has accomplished here. It is a manifesto of sensory deprivation and acclimation, a waterboarding of complacency, a pyrotechnic show of prosody--all that and more. Absolutely recommended to any lover of poetry.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Threshold Songs 3 Jun 2012
By Nema - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Peter Gizzi's Threshold Songs is a work of art: beauty of design texture, content.
The poems are brilliant hard worked meditations on what it is to think and feel and remember,
to study others along side ourselves.
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