Skirts and Slacks

Paperback $15.00

Knopf | May 14, 2002 | 80 Pages | 5-7/8 x 8-3/8 | ISBN 9780375709425

  • Paperback$15.00

    Knopf | May 14, 2002 | 80 Pages | 5-7/8 x 8-3/8 | ISBN 9780375709425

  • Ebook$13.99

    Knopf | Sep 04, 2013 | 80 Pages | ISBN 9780307559777

Praise

"Di Piero has a great talent for close description . . . Particularly fine [is] the elegy for his parents, ‘White Blouse White Shirt,’ which ends on a note authentically sublime. Di Piero’s poems cling tenaciously to the real and hold out for something more true; they scour the world to see past it." — Kirkus Reviews


"A master of impressionistic candlelight, Di Piero is precise and empathetic . . . Between the everyday and the lofty, illuminated by ‘mildly crazed words,’ these thoughtful poetic compositions combine serious imagery with ‘truth in words’ . . . Refreshing poetry that gets better with reading." – Library Journal

"Di Piero consistently injects Kleinzahlerian whimsy into his short lyrics, along with pathos-laden descriptions of depression’s quotidian. This solemn attention to nature can mutate into Boccaccio-like satire . . . His ear is a great deal sharper than most poets chronicling their art- and writing-centered lives." — Publishers Weekly

"W. S. Di Piero’s poems have a different relationship to reality from what you find in most other poets’ work. When I publish one of his poems about Philadelphia, I get letters from people saying they know the neighborhood he’s talking about; sometimes they even know the block he’s talking about. When I read his poems about his father and mother and other relatives, I can see them, or hear them speak, or sense the way they moved around and wore clothes and occupied space. Very little contemporary poetry has this quality–this allegiance to something that exists, or existed–and to me it’s one of the most valuable functions poetry can have." –Wendy Lesser


From the Hardcover edition.

Author Essay

Skirts and Slacks, my seventh book of poems, took me over five years to write, though I wasn’t aware of writing a book. I was just writing poems which, in time, disclosed to me their themes of devastation and desired restoration. The poems swing coast to coast and are mostly set in cityscapes (the Port Authority; Haight Street; Boston’s South End; South Philadelphia) and in distressed interiors (saloon, hospital room, airplane, kitchen, church, train). The materials are all personal, of course, but I’m not really interested in the personal or the confessional. I wanted Skirts and Slacks to enact – in the mixed tones of actual experience – truths of feeling about sexual love, civic disorder, personal and public saneness. I wanted poems which, in the way they sound and taste, play out what it feels like to live in the world as a field of troubled relatedness. I write mostly about hungers and wants, not satisfactions or resolutions.

Useful phrases from the book? In "Oregon Avenue on a Good Day. " I’m looking for "our common deam of the all / and the only this, that’s exactly / what I can’t find." And in "Add Salt," I’m "still looking / for the invisible life of things."

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