I’ve heard Peter Gizzi read his poetry on several occasions, and I’ve always been affected by the musicality and lyricism of his words that are often steeped in melancholy but that also open up possibilities. I’ve heard him give talks at conferences too, and I remember thinking that everything he spoke seemed poetic.
When I read his work, I’m sometimes reminded of the poets of French modernism, especially Pierre Reverdy, whose translations by Ashbery I’m now reading alongside Gizzi. Both weave tapestries of images, merging and separating threads in a texture that suggests meanings yet remains loose enough to invite readers to envision their own patterns. Gizzi’s poetry balances his gift (the given words on the page) and the elusiveness of the essence of that gift. It is writerly poetry that welcomes the interlacings of others. And to me, that is part of its beauty.
I have owed Peter Gizzi a debt of poetic gratitude for many years. Below are two of his poems. The first is from Some Values of Landscape and Weather, and the second is from Artificial Heart.