Artificial Heart

Artificial Heart

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Author: Peter Gizzi

Publisher: Burning Deck (1998)

Artificial Heart negotiates the intersection of artifice and the turbulent domain of feeling. The book recuperates the concerns of the 11th-century troubadour poets—the hermetic display of love, politics, statehood, and grief—in the present. Formally the collection is a sampling of lyric history from the troubadours to post-industrial punk: it sustains the haunting quality of a song heard from a distance, overlayed with playground noise, lovers' oaths and cries of loss. The poems both celebrate and challenge the spell of the physical world over the imagination, narrating the gap between embrace and abandonment.

"In his visionary quest, his raw emotion, and his New York school spontaneity, Gizzi performs a clinamen that relates him to O'Hara, Ashbery, and, beyond these poets, to Rimbaud and Hart Crane.... a master of the mot juste and of sound structure. Most of the book's poems...are as memorable as they are moving and spare."

–Marjorie Perloff

"This is a valuable collection, both for the issues it raises and for the simple pleasure of beautifully crafted language."

–Cole Swensen

"A sense of personal displacement has been made into a shared cultural dislocation.... There's a sensual intelligence working in these poems in which ideas are generated out of the rich sound of language and its images. These are poems of space and light, and also things [like] too many skateboards in the bright California sun."

–Alan Gilbert