City Dog: Essays
W. S. Di Piero Northwestern University Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS3554.I65C57 2009 | Dewey Decimal 814.54
When a self-proclaimed "lazy scholar" embarks on a trip through his life's influences--as diverse as girl-group doo-wop, Yeats, and Van Gogh--readers are in for an illuminating ride. This collection of essays from cultural critic Di Piero veers from his early years as the son of immigrants in Philadelphia to his working life in art, film, music, and poetry. Along with a few choice essays reprinted from out-of-print collections, Di Piero's new work shows him to be insightful about himself and his work despite his protestations against the "boosterism" of autobiography. Through the lens of his sharp artistic analysis, readers see his story--an immigrant story filled with the music and mystery of a multilingual family, the men of his neighborhood wearing so many hats as they worked--as the auspicious beginning for his life of observation and revelation. His prose sings along, tripping across slang, poetry, and painters with the same precision that allows him to nearly dance about architecture. Though Di Piero would claim that his life's path "lurches and swerves," his essays prove that he has wandered expansively and with purpose--a city dog trotting across continents, along pages, and through galleries.
W. S. Di Piero University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress PS3554.I65R47 1992 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
The poems in this, W. S. Di Piero's fifth collection of poetry, are animated by an ancient vision of the human state as existing somewhere between the divine and the bestial; tense with the compulsion toward formal order and the wild yearning after chaos, these are tough poems, gritty and relentless; they indulge neither the reader nor the poet. Their austere lyricism expresses Di Piero's desire for transcendent meaning, and their unflinching attention to natural and cultural history reflects an equally strong instinct for the earthbound.
W.S. Di Piero Northwestern University Press, 1995 Library of Congress PS3554.I65S48 1995 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
"""Like Crane and Williams before him, and like some other talented living poets . . . Di Piero has staked a claim at the interval between heightened poetic speech and the language hooks of advertising, between sincere oratory and a street-smart insult. Always, the poems surprise with the madcap tumble of roiling diction."" --Partisan Review
""W.S. Di Piero is a singular yet deceptive presence in American poetry. He fearlessly juxtaposes the Latinate and the Anglo-Saxon, the raunchy and the sacred, car horns and choirs. His line is edgy, razor-sharp, his syntax turbulent."" --Mark Rudman
""His instinct is to admire the physical world, but the poems embrace place with elegiac fury, in language that is only sensitive by remaining rough, refusing the option of beautiful polish, leaving always open that glimpse into unguarded despair without which the artist is trivial."" --Mary Kinzie"