Skirts and Slacks by W.s. Di PieroSkirts and Slacks by W.s. Di Piero

Skirts and Slacks

byW.s. Di Piero

Paperback | May 14, 2002

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about

W. S. Di Piero, a fresh and powerful voice in American poetry, opens this collection about public and private worlds with poems that revisit the deaths of his parents. It is an important adult passage for him, and for them a last chance to leave a message: his father lying in bed, “bemused and contemptuous / of the hell in which he lay”; his mother soon to be laid out in the cheap gold flats “that made her look young and men look twice.” Di Piero writes poems of relationships, of ordinary beauty, of the deep, visceral memories that shape who we become. He reveals the art in the everyday—sometimes literally, as when he spies a Vermeer beauty in a girl with nose studs at the ATM, or van Gogh’s self-portrait in a small-time bookie. Whether describing the uncertainty of sexual love (“. . . your footpads / wet after a bath / left prints like / our conversations / every which way”) or a panhandler in Port Authority (“Show you to your bus / or an excellent candy bar?”), he is delicate and direct at once, a no-nonsense guide to his surroundings who is moved by what he sees. His strong, elegantly simple statements of truths of feeling go beyond the pleasure of the words themselves and restore us to the thrill of honesty in our own lives.
W. S. Di Piero was born in South Philadelphia in 1945. He is the author of six previous books of poetry, and the translator of three volumes from the Italian. He writes about art for the San Diego Reader and has published three collections of essays and criticism on art, literature and personal experience. He has received a Guggenheim ...
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Title:Skirts and SlacksFormat:PaperbackPublished:May 14, 2002Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375709428

ISBN - 13:9780375709425

Reviews

Read from the Book

Skirts and Slacks The .32 Specialits Dutch Masters box, still in their bedroomcloset, days aftermy mother's death, plus my father'sthirty years ago. I used to practicedisarming, reloading, putting it in my mouthfor fun. And sohere it is again, but (stupid woman, Great Depression childscrolling tens and twentiesin macaroni boxes) loaded, half-cocked. Oh yes, shoot the burglarin the closet, the catin heat on the fence, and Calvin Coolidge. She rose, rammy, close to death, cocked up in bedas if pulleyed by heaven, sometime past midnight. I was there to watchher eyes wake for a momentenraged and hateful toward me. Bone wooled with slightsof flesh, what certaintyin the body at its end? And between here and there? Breath stops, blood fades, the comic head I'm liftingfrom the pillow feelstoo merely anatomicaland heavier than before.

Editorial Reviews

"Di Piero has a great talent for close description . . . Particularly fine [is] the elegy for his parents, 'White Blouse White Shirt,' which ends on a note authentically sublime. Di Piero's poems cling tenaciously to the real and hold out for something more true; they scour the world to see past it." -- Kirkus Reviews "A master of impressionistic candlelight, Di Piero is precise and empathetic . . . Between the everyday and the lofty, illuminated by 'mildly crazed words,' these thoughtful poetic compositions combine serious imagery with 'truth in words' . . . Refreshing poetry that gets better with reading." -- Library Journal"Di Piero consistently injects Kleinzahlerian whimsy into his short lyrics, along with pathos-laden descriptions of depression's quotidian. This solemn attention to nature can mutate into Boccaccio-like satire . . . His ear is a great deal sharper than most poets chronicling their art- and writing-centered lives." -- Publishers Weekly"W. S. Di Piero's poems have a different relationship to reality from what you find in most other poets' work. When I publish one of his poems about Philadelphia, I get letters from people saying they know the neighborhood he's talking about; sometimes they even know the block he's talking about. When I read his poems about his father and mother and other relatives, I can see them, or hear them speak, or sense the way they moved around and wore clothes and occupied space. Very little contemporary poetry has this quality--this allegiance to something that exists, or existed--and to me it's one of the most valuable functions poetry can have." --Wendy LesserFrom the Hardcover edition.