Shopping Cart Link

Wesleyan University Press

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Hardcover add to cart
Paperback add to cart

For Educators
View cart
Add exam ebook
Cover image Click for larger image

Peter Gizzi

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2016 • 108 pp. 1 illus. 5 1/2 x 7 3/4"
Poetry / Poetry - American

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7772-6
$24.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7680-4

$18.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7681-1

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“In his eighth collection, Gizzi continues his quest to renew lyricism … his ear remains as appealing as ever, and his paratactic syntax still surprises line by line … At their warmest, Gizzi’s poems offer genuinely moving confrontations with mortality, history, and tradition.” Publishers Weekly

Soulful and intricate lyrics make this Gizzi’s strongest book to date

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.

An online reader’s companion is available at

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Award-winning poet Gizzi here uses spare, focused language to reflect on language itself: its origins, structure, uses, and music … reflecting how words are rooted deep down in our past. But language is complicated. Hence our need—and our difficulty—in separating appearance from reality, effluence from essence; the ‘static lovely’ of what we want to communicate must traverse ‘a grubby transom.’”Library Journal

Archeophonics is perhaps Gizzi’s most personal book; it is tender, lyric, strange, and chatty. He writes from a place of deep intimacy with loss, as if he has locked eyes with ‘the fragility of the world and of being,’ as he described.—Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker

“A trajectory runs through the whole from poems of despair and loss to those of revival as ‘the old language/continues its dialogues/in ordinary dust.’ The book directly raises questions of how one is to go about the writing of poetry given the collapse of language and the self.”Martha Ronk, The Constant Critic

“A book about vibe: the vibrations in the air we call sound waves; the vibrations of history we feel through time; the particular emotional vibrations that give certain people or objects or occasions what we call an aura, a vibe. The lift in Gizzi’s lyrics is less intellectual, or even revelational, than vibrational.”—Matt Rader, Wales Arts Review

“[A] courageous book where the poet fearlessly inserts himself into the very heart of the existential questions that plague him on a daily basis. His answers bespeak an honest resilience in the face of our mortality.”—Sonja James, The Journal

Archeophonics is an unprecedented and haunting meditation on poetry, how it retains memories of its former manifestations, the politics of this retention, and how, most importantly, in spite of everything, voice rises to the surface and poetry survives.”—Melih Levi, Colorado Review

“Gizzi treads eggshell air, eggshell earth, traipse never not shadowed by collapse, as if to sound some depth, some corrected tilt or some righted something gone under, the poems an evaporative track left in its wake.”—Nathaniel Mackey, author of Nod House

“I like that Peter frequently over bets, this poet gets in trouble and needs the world to get him out of it. It’s like this: I saw the frill of light today/walking on the path. It’s speechy, meaning (for me) that his writing actually grows ornamental, and then suddenly it turns slight like trash in the street and it’s ravishingly strong. Gizzi’s strength is a world of big ideas buttressed by fragility and the incidental. And he’s often complaining. I’d call it girly.  Even post gender. It’s strong and it’s pretty work.” —Eileen Myles

“Peter Gizzi’s disturbing lyricism is like no other.”—Adrienne Rich

From the Book:

I'm just visiting this voice
I’m just visiting the molecular structures
that say what I am saying
I am just visiting the world at this moment
and it's on fire
It's always been on fire

I'm saying this and it's saying me
That's how it works seesaw like
The archive in the mouth and the archive is on fire
That's the story
The sun and the body and the body in the sun

It was like this just like this
The world that’s coming toward me
And the world around me
Around me are words saying this
saying fire
Saying something or all of it


Short-Listed for the National Book Award (2016)

Author Photo

PETER GIZZI is the author of six collections of poetry including Threshold Songs and In Defense of Nothing. His honors include the Lavan Younger Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets, and artist grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Howard Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He works at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Click here for author's website.

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

Fri, 9 Nov 2018 09:37:38 -0500