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This interview is taken from PN Review 209, Volume 39 Number 3, January - February 2013.

In Conversation with Peter Gizzi Anthony Caleshu
Peter Gizzi is the author of five books of poetry: Periplum (1992), Artificial Heart (1998), Some Values of Landscape and Weather (2003), The Outernationale (2007), and most recently Threshold Songs (Wesleyan University Press, 2011). He was the editor of the celebrated literary journal o-blék: a journal of language arts (1987-93) and the editor of both the Collected Poetry and the Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer. This interview took place on 17 August 2011, in the South Bank's Royal Festival Hall.

ANTHONY CALESHU: You've expressed the idea of poetry as 'song' in your work from the start. The first poem in Periplum, 'Song of the Interior', commands 'Begin! Begin! So sing...'. And your latest book Threshold Songs announces 'Here is my song // the only recourse of sun'. Homer asks the muse to sing to him, while Whitman declares his 'song of myself'. What's the relationship between poetry and song for you?

PETER GIZZI: One of the chief elements that attracted me to poetry from very early on is that it has a deep musical element to it. Singing was the first thing that brought me into understanding poetry. I guess I could say that it began when I was a boy in church. Also, some of my earliest memories are listening to Bob Dylan with my brothers. If I didn't understand everything he was singing, I understood that something enormous was being claimed. If I couldn't articulate myself emotionally or make myself understood because I ...


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