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  • Chinese Apples
  • Written by W.S. Di Piero
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780375711435
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  • Chinese Apples
  • Written by W.S. Di Piero
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307494443
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Chinese Apples

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New and Selected Poems

Written by W.S. Di PieroAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by W.S. Di Piero


List Price: $13.99


On Sale: September 04, 2013
Pages: 272 | ISBN: 978-0-307-49444-3
Published by : Knopf Knopf
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Now in paperback: the “lovely and evocative book” (San Francisco Chronicle) of poems both new and old that celebrates a quarter century of passionate engagement with real life and its transformation into poetic form: the pull of faith and the poet’s suspicion of transcendence, urban worlds and the mysterious jazz of street language, desire and sexual need, love and loss.


Smoke We loiter in the cobblestone alley,Beans, Clams, Yom-Yom and me,smoking punk. Snip the wiry stem,trim the nubby end, scratch firefrom a zipper then pass the stink around.William Penn designed these blockssquared off, brick, crosshatched by alleysto prevent the spread of fire. So fireruns down my throat, reedturning to iron inside my lungs.Yom-Yom has an uncle in Bucks County.Country boys sneak behind barns and puffon cedar bark. Smoke’s the only thingwe have in common. Smoke when our breathmeets cold moist air, though no smoke ringsin winter, while sullen cars drag gray on graydown city streets or country roads.Someday I’ll smoke Camels, my father’s brand,then Gauloises to prove I’m stronger than himin burning whatever’s inside that won’t sleep.StanzasAt the Cole and Carl dog-run park,mutts and poodles sniff grass,couples laugh, the N-Judahsharks from its tunnel. I’m druggywhile my doctor fools with dosagesto stagger my soul’s bad chemistry.I need a looser world and words for it.Last night I watched the Dog Star burnblue then frosted mercury. Late Showstation break, I write lines like these,looking for exacter, plainer poetrywhile more stars appear. I hate mornings–my bed’s a mudlake writing pulls me from.Poetry’s muscled homemade demonsits on me and asks: “What next?”A mockingbird sings from its nest,dark or light the same, singingend to end, while the kitchen lightcurls me over short, easy books,dumped crosswords, and Vanity Fair.Then life’s casual rush stops,everywhere I lookthe lymph in things goes dead,though the world still shines the same.Medicated to this willowed balance,I don’t weep now to see dogs runor wild fennel bend to windskiting a tern from its brilliant marsh.I don’t get sick with fright to hearan eyelash click across the street.Little lab-rat gods rattlingin my jar, keep me close enoughto smell dog fur and fresh-cut grass.Take away whatever you want,but deliver me to derangementsof sweet, ordered, derelict words.The Wedding DanceIndigo sequins trashthe circle’s center,and she knows that,dancing there,she’ll outlive everyone.Women jitterbugged.Men clutched sweatySeven-and-Sevens.Roast beef sandwiches,cream soda, red-eyed heirsskating sawdust boards,somewhere a bride and groom.At our table, my father(“Let’s break this up”)grabs my arm and gimpstoward the dancers’ circleand its untouchable one,where he light-footssnappy fat-man moves,happy storybook dragon,boilermakers on his breath,sexed up, cutting the boards,while itchy at the edgeI blur into forgetfulness.We’re never really free.Because he’s not dancing,but stops at the sizzling edge,watches, bums his bad legback to our desolate table.What pity if not born to livein a world you’re born to?Rim shots knock for us who aretoo far to see her turnand laugh inside the circle,her alluring moves for usand anyone who dares.

From the Hardcover edition.
W.S. Di Piero

About W.S. Di Piero

W.S. Di Piero - Chinese Apples
W. S. Di Piero was born in South Philadelphia in 1945. He is the author of eight previous books of poetry, as well as three volumes of translation 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. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. He lives in San Francisco.


“[A] fine book . . . It’s clear that what Di Piero believes in is poetry, not redemptively but descriptively. Poetry allows him to see the world, which enables him to bear living in it.” —Poetry

“Di Piero’s verses resound with tiny correspondences and internal echoes, and the density of his later poems, despite their readerfriendliness and beautiful images, weighs hard on the reader’s heart, leaving an impress that is slow to fade.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

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