Like his earlier volume from Guernica, The Fat Man Arpeggios, though even bolder, Pellegrino D'Acierno's Thirteen Ways of Crossing the Piazza flashes its heritage in the linguistic wildness of Wallace Stevens, with an astonishing range of cultural references, popular and classical, and an erotic heat that Stevens never attempted. Beneath the feast, the groaning board of aesthetic pleasure, lies death-haunted melancholy almost too deep for words, but always present as the trigger of D'Acierno's startling originality. - Frank Lentricchia To cross the piazza with Pellegrino D'Acierno is to surrender to the labyrinthine rhythms and soul-storm vibrations, the thunder and the tenderness, of a life lived in Nietzschean pursuit of an ever-ascending mode of existence. In these ravishing, heart-stopping poems, D'Acierno, venerable maestro of Lorca-ian duende-ismo, traces the infinite chiaroscuro embedded within moments of dramatic and decisive interpersonal encounter. In his alluring "coitus of word and world," faces, gazes, and bodies collude in the making of arresting social scenes; popes and pimps cruise the Roman piazza; casket bearers drop coffins on Baroque Neapolitan church stone floors; cabaret singers and their pious listeners, restaurant tryst-partners, and Beat-era Village bohemians seductively Italianize Manhattan. A feast of eye and ear, an infernal, rhapsodic music folding light into darkness, Thirteen Ways is the verse that comes of Caravaggio sitting in the Five Spot painting Thelonious Monk's "Misterioso." - John Gennari
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