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Fierce Elegy

Peter Gizzi author


Publisher:Penguin Books Ltd

Published:4th Jul '24

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Fierce Elegy cover

The powerful new collection from legendary American poet Peter Gizzi, reckoning with the transformative power of elegy through poems of lament and love

‘I am awestruck, dumbfounded … a masterwork’ Ocean Vuong
'Transcendent ... He identifies the thing we're all searching for'The New Yorker

In Fierce Elegy, Peter Gizzi contends with a decade of grief, and learns to transform a broken heart into new strength. These are poems of loss; of love; of the strangeness of being a self amid the fury of the world; and of our ongoing closeness with the dead. They are soaring yet grounded, vulnerable and brave. Ears attuned, grip assured. Mind free.

Lyrics of resignation are juxtaposed with ecstatic lines that reimagine silence as “conversations with the dead”. Spare and raked of impurities, these poems reside in an airy purgatory of the soul... In its beautiful, fiery insistence this collection redeclares the elegy as the undying practice of the living -- Oluwaseun Olayiwola * Guardian *
With his last several collections, Peter Gizzi has distinguished himself as one of America’s finest living poets. In his latest book, Fierce Elegy, we find the poet writing at the height of his powers -- James O'Conner * Harvard Review *
Gizzi is a master of the elegiac mode. His subject isn’t loss alone, but loss interwoven with afterlife. Shadows, reflections, mirrors, and migrating birds populate his poems, and he weaves one state of consciousness into another, like gossamer. Fierce Elegy is lyrical and transcendent. It is also fierce in the sense that overcoming the broken world is the ultimate act of defiance -- Amanda Holmes Duffy * Washington Independent Review *
In his latest book, we recognize Gizzi’s distinctive voice, but its melancholy is even more intensified, now almost black as ink. We might call it lyric after catastrophe: the world has suffered blows, shocks, accidents, and destructions and things are no better for things, which are often as not broken, undone, burned, or ruined, “language marching into empire / starving the words.” What remains now are no more than “the ruins of anything.” And yet the book is a necessary reminder to continue to live, perhaps to love, and certainly to die -- Stéphane Bouquet * Chicago Review *
For Gizzi, silence lives inside the poems, its words charged by it just as, for Gerard Manley Hopkins, “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.” Fierce Elegy anneals its phrases to the clotted silences that surround them, so that rather than a continuous utterance, Gizzi’s rhythms are those of words teased, wrested, chiseled, and siphoned out of the darkness, with all of the nuances of sound those operations imply. Fierce Elegy differs equally from elegies that establish strong ties to a tradition (e.g., Milton) and from those that imagine themselves as wholly anti-elegy (e.g., Plath and Ginsberg). It omits not only proper names but dead addressees altogether, and the affect set in most salient contrast to sadness is actually ecstasy -- John Steen * The Poetry Project *

ISBN: 9781802065244

Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 7mm

Weight: 79g

80 pages