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The Outernationale
Peter Gizzi

Wesleyan Poetry Series

Wesleyan University Press
2007 • 132 pp. 6 x 8 1/2"

$16.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6737-6
$25.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-6736-9

Cover illustration is for paper edition;
cloth jacket may be different.

"Among the many things that strike me about (his) language, perhaps the first is how forthright and openhearted it is. Odd, perhaps, to say about writing that's also mysterious, but those two adjectives, along with 'brave' and 'sensuous' sum up my feelings for The Outernationale."—Richard Silsberg, Poetry Flash

A luminous new work for the 21st century

Peter Gizzi's powerful new collection fuses documentary truth with imaginative force. The Outernationale locates us “just off the grid,” in an emotional and spiritual frontier, where reverie, outrage, history, and vision merge. Thinking and feeling become one in the urgent music of Gizzi's poems. Saturated with luminous detail, these original poems possess, even in their sorrowing moments, a dizzying freedom. This is both a poetry of conscience and the embodiment of a genuinely poetic consciousness. Objects, images, and their histories are caught here in their half-life, their profoundly human after-life. Gizzi has written a brilliant follow-up to Some Values of Landscape and Weather, a book hailed by Robert Creeley as “a breakthrough book in every way: for reader, for writer, and for the art.”

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“Peter Gizzi's The Outernationale is magnificent. It gives me what I need from poetry—a reminder to feel alive…. He remembers that a shiver of sensation is vital, it's the first thing, before mere message or artful phrasing.”—Ange Mlinko, Harriet, Poetry Foundation blog

The Outernationale is a remarkable book: in poem after poem, nerve flares into shimmering gauze.”—John Palattella, Boston Review


“Peter Gizzi's disturbing lyricism is like no other—the innermost whir of the daily curtain rising on outer catastrophe. His phrasing can wrench the heart, his eye refracts ordinary light into acute images. In The Outernationale we are ‘listening to a life/unlived any other way’—unmistakably, as poetry.”—Adrienne Rich

“Peter Gizzi's achingly beautiful poems create tiny openings for being – the whole lonely, searching grandeur of a one—to find and examine its contours between the conditions of ‘what happened’ and ‘what’s happening.’ One might be sung down from a ledge by this book's insistence on ‘the warmth of the mind reflected in a dark time’ and its acute rendering of the range of human feeling in all its complicated, ordinary marrow.”—Anselm Berrigan

From the Book:

It’s getting dark
indigo setting on the glass
just sitting there. Reminding us
days gallop into grass rushing wind
into miles of cable.
When the pistons call,
when I was a wedge of sun
over steel mills,
when I asked what happened,
I meant, what happened to us?
—from “The Outernationale”

Author Photo

PETER GIZZI is the author of four books of poetry, including Some Values of Landscape and Weather (2003). He teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

National Endowment for the Arts
This project is supported in part by an award from the
National Endowment for the Arts

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 09:27:53 -0500