No Both    
Michael Gizzi    

The Figures/Hard Press
Paperback, 1997
ISBN: 1-889097-16-0

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The title sequence, "No Both," was begun on the 20th anniversary of the death of Michael Gizzi's father and concluded two months later, despite states of extreme agitation, on his mother's birthday. Here, spring meshes with issues of first and second generation immigrant anxiety, blending memories of family loyalty and power (duitiful son meets the conflicts of poetic liberation), to throw these writings into the air, like wounded birds, where they streak and tumble--wired, weary, cuckoo, brilliant--finding literary form and personal redemption in bursts of uncanny verbal deliverance. The second half of the book, "We See," poems since 1993, written for the most part under the influence of jazz and other musics, continues the assault on normative lyric pieties.

Through the mad clutter of everyday life the poet's voice speeds along and isn't going to let you off the hook till the end of the poem, if then. Razor sharp but also rich and generously compelling, Michael Gizzi's poetry lambastes as it celebrates, bringin us finally to a place of poignant irresolution where "This music that for the moment/Takes on the work of youth" is "Held for life in fluttering devastation."

--John Ashbery

Cross James Joyce and Jack Nicholson in a high energy construct machine and you have Michael Gizzi's poems. He will tell you everything you knew was true but didn't have the guts to say. Physiologically, psychologically, and geographically, Gizzi locates the voices of us, Olson's "last first people," with an element of quick surprise that is all his own.

--Lisa Jarnot

In the hyperbolic vernacular of the barroom confessional, Michael Gizzi delivers a full bag of urgent messages, their sources detached from the old, wierd America of a not-so-distant past. Impossibly rich, these jam-packed audibles are spring-loaded to jack-knife off the page. No Both is word jazz, coiled, mortal and alive.

--Kit Robinson

Copyright 2003 Geoffrey Young. All Rights Reserved