Poetry. From the coal country of Western Pennsylvania, to Camorra-ridden Naples, to the streets of Damascus before the outbreak of civil war, the lyric poems in this outstanding collection chart the complexities of national and intimate identity. By turns playful, lamenting, sceptical, bawdy, and aggrieved, they find the human fingerprint below history's erasures, ultimately praising the endurance of the soul "so ample that, if that is all there is, / she makes a feast of thorns.""Pelizzon's poetry is acquiring a reputation. Her poems have appeared widely in periodicals (the Kenyon Review, Nation, Southern Review, and FIELD); her first book, Nostos, won the Hollis Summers Prize and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America; she's recently received a Lannan Foundation fellowship and an Amy Lowell traveling scholarship; and her second collection, WHOSE FLESH IS FLAME, WHOSE BONE IS TIME, was published in the spring of 2014. Her work, however, has not been the subject of detailed commentary, and the appearance of a particularly striking poem, 'Nulla Dies Sine Linea' in WHOSE FLESH IS FLAME, presents an opportunity to rectify this deficiency and introduce her writing to a wider audience. Like much of her work, this poem is unshowy, nimble, personal, and expertly crafted. It is lightly constructed, yet the autumnal moment of insight it embodies has considerable emotional impact; it deftly mixes Apollonian reflection with the imagistic logic of dreams, and it is unself-consciously informal while drawing deep on traditional forms and techniques. Above all, its powers of implication and suggestion give rise to a series of harmonics or overtones that enrich the spare textures on the page."—M. W. Rowe"As we follow these rivers of narrative to their sources, the experience of reading Pelizzon's poems becomes like travel across an unfamiliar landscape. Through travel, we confront mysteries —or sometimes, enact the alienation that we feel —even as we hope, eventually, to return. In WHOSE FLESH IS FLAME, WHOSE BONE IS TIME, even ekphrastic poetry is an opportunity to travel away from the self and the known world. Pelizzon received an Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, and travel seems to have inspired many of the poems in this collection. Ultimately, as we navigate these rivers and their tributaries, the water sometimes catches fire when too laden with experience and suffering. Then, the poet's potential for empathy gives rise to dazzling imagery. But WHOSE FLESH IS FLAME, WHOSE BONE IS TIME also suggests that poisoned rivers can run clean again."—Carol Quinn"In her second collection, V. Penelope Pelizzon tends to elegize places rather than persons and to write long poems, and poems in series, rather than terse lyrics.. [S]he references Ovid at key moments but emphasizes his experience of exile, a major theme of her book, over his myths of metamorphosis. As the wife of a diplomat, Pelizzon avoids the pitfalls common to contemporary 'tourist' poems; rather than indulge in pretty descriptions of foreign locales or preening meditations on works of art, Pelizzon contemplates the strangeness of living in an unfamiliar country...As in an illuminated book—a form that inspires her approach—Pelizzon constructs her series from discrete poems teeming with descriptive details and sonically thickened with concrete, Anglo-Saxon-based diction. Like a new page in an illuminated book, each new poem shifts the scene, which enables Pelizzon to ground a series in a place yet also range over vast swathes of time. 'The Monongahela Book of Hours' incorporates not only the geographic and economic history of Appalachia, but also scenes from ancient Greece, Ovidian Rome, Medieval England, nineteenth-century England and Japan, and extends into geological time—the compaction of plants into coal becomes a metaphor for the changes in the region that result from the ravages of the coal industry. The metaphor also applies to Pelizzon's layered approach to writing and the amount of time these complex poems must have taken to research and draft. Her first book, Nostos, appeared in 2000, and the poems in WHOSE FLESH IS FLAME, WHOSE BONE IS TIME bear the pressure of long incubation and intense thought."—Meg Schoerke
V. Penelope Pelizzon was born in 1967 in Massachusetts. Her first poetry collection, Nostos (2000), won the Hollis Summers Prize and the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award. She is also co- author of a critical study, Tabloid, Inc.: Crimes, Newspapers, Narratives (2010), and other essays on visual culture. Her poems have received the Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship and a Discovery/The Nation Award, while her prose has twice been listed among the year's "notable essays" in the Best American Essays series. A diplomat's spouse, she navigates between postings abroad and her current position as Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut.
Author City: DULLES, VA USA