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In Defense of Nothing

Selected Poems, 1987–2011

Peter Gizzi

Publication Year: 2014

Since his celebrated first book of poetry, Peter Gizzi has been hailed as one of the most significant and distinctive voices writing today. Gathered from over five collections, and representing close to twenty-five years of work, the poems in this generous selection strike a dynamic balance of honesty, emotion, intellectual depth and otherworldly resonance—in Gizzi’s work, poetry itself becomes a primary ground of human experience. Haunted, vibrant, and saturated with luminous detail, Gizzi’s poetry enlists the American vernacular in a magical and complex music. In Defense of Nothing is an immensely valuable introduction to the work of this extraordinary and singular poet. Check for the online reader’s companion at indefenseofnothing.site.weleyan.edu.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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From: Periplum, and Other Poems

Song of the Interior Begin

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pp. 3-

Periplum

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pp. 4-5

Blue Peter

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pp. 6-8

Still Life with Automobile

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pp. 9-

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Thirty Sentences for No One

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pp. 10-11

It begins with socks in a drawer and continues to laundry bags to the future. In the Food Mart everything is above the child’s head. Always looking up. Always lifting our eyes to heaven. The horizon is your mother’s repose on the divan after daily chores. Outside

Poem for John Wieners

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pp. 12-13

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Despite Your Notices

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pp. 14-15

This is my poem. The one I was afraid to show you. A poem to provide against the voices that will ultimately ensure my failure in this endeavor. This poem is a pillow, small and embroidered, the satin death pillow used to prop up the face for one last viewing...

Psalm

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pp. 16-

Deus Ex Machina

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pp. 17-20

Song of the Den

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pp. 21-22

Periplum VII (A Valentine)

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pp. 23-

Hard as Ash

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pp. 24-34

From: Artificial Heart

New Picnic Time

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pp. 37-39

Toy

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pp. 40-41

Another Day of the Pilgrimage

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pp. 42-46

Spack

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pp. 47-

Will Call

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pp. 48-

Ledger Domain

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pp. 49-54

Lonely Tylenol

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pp. 55-

Reed

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pp. 56-57

Captain

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pp. 58-59

Pierced

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pp. 60-69

Fables of Critique

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pp. 70-71

A Textbook of Chivalry

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pp. 72-74

From: Some Values of Landscape and Weather

Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear

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pp. 77-79

The Ethics of Dust

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pp. 80-81

A History of the Lyric

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pp. 82-83

Add This to the House

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pp. 84-

Some Values of Landscape and Weather

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pp. 85-89

Overtakelessness

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pp. 90-

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Hawthorne

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pp. 91-

Any numerous rosaceous plants of the genus Crataegus. Usually small trees with stiff thorns, certain species of which have white and pink blossoms and bright-colored fruits. A thorny Old World shrub. U.S. novelist and short-story writer. A city in southern California...

Edgar Poe

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pp. 92-

Revival

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pp. 93-98

To Be Written in No Other Country

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pp. 99-

In Defense of Nothing

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pp. 100-

Lessons in Darkness

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pp. 101-103

It Was Raining in Delft

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pp. 104-

Fin Amor

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pp. 105-116

Beginning With a Phrase From Simone Weil

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pp. 117-118

From: The Outernationale

A Panic That Can Still Come Upon Me

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pp. 121-129

The Quest

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pp. 130-

Stung

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pp. 131-134

Untitled Amherst Specter

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pp. 135-

A Telescope Protects Its View

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pp. 136-127

That's Life

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pp. 138-140

Nocturne

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pp. 141-142

Vincent, Homesick for the Land of Pictures

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pp. 143-149

Wintry Mix

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pp. 150-151

Saturday and Its Festooned Potential

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pp. 152-153

The Moonlight Defense

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pp. 154-

Bolshevescent

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pp. 155-

The Outernationale

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pp. 156-166

From: Threshold Songs

The Growing Edge

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pp. 169-172

Lullaby

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pp. 173-174

Hypostasis & New Year

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pp. 175-177

Eye of the Poem

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pp. 178-179

Snow Globe

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pp. 180-

Analemma

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pp. 181-183

This Trip Around the Sun is Expensive

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pp. 184-185

Basement Song

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pp. 186-187

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Pinocchio's Gnosis

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pp. 188-193

The season folds into itself, cuts a notch in me. I become thinner. My heart splinters and a wooden sound invades the song, interrupts my ire. Today the planet is mostly dirt, mostly water—forget about my lyre. And if you look close everywhere coming to...

Tiny Blast

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pp. 194-

Tradition & the Indivisible Talent

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pp. 195-198

Apocrypha

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pp. 199-201

A Note on the Text

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pp. 202-203

Oversong

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pp. 204-205

History is Made at Night

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pp. 206-213

Bardo

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pp. 214-215

Modern Adventures at Sea

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pp. 216-220

Fragment (To The Reader)

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pp. 221-

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Acknowledgements

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pp. 222-

My gratitude to the individuals who were responsible for editing the following publications in which my poems appeared: Periplum (Penngrove: Avec Books, 1992); Hours of the Book (Tenerife: Zasterle, 1994);Ledger Domain (Timolian: Providence, 1995); New Picnic Time (Buffalo: Meow Editions, 1995);Artificial Heart (Providence: Burning Deck,...

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Peter Gizzi

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pp. 223-

Peter Gizzi is the author of Threshold Songs, The Outernationale, Some Values of Landscape and Weather, Artificial Heart, and Periplum. He has also published several limited-edition chapbooks, folios, and artist books. His honors include the Lavan Younger Poet Award from the Academy of American...


E-ISBN-13: 9780819574312
E-ISBN-10: 0819574317
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819574305

Page Count: 244
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Wesleyan Poetry Series