Archambeau, Robert. "Roads Less Traveled: Two Paths Out of Modernism in Postwar American Poetry" In The Mechanics of the Mirage: Postwar American Poetry, edited by Michel Delville and Christine Pagnoulle. Liège, Belgium: University of Liège Press, 2000, pp. 35-48. Longenbach, James. "Robert Pinsky and the Language of Our Time." Salmagundi 103 (summer 1994): 155-177. Parini, Jay. "Explaining America: The Poetry of Robert Pinsky." Chicago Review 33.1 (summer 1981): 16-26. Pinsky, Robert. Landor's Poetry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968.
-. Poetry and the World. Hopewell, N.J.: Ecco, 1988.
-. The Situation of Poetry. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton
University Press, 1976.
PIOMBINO, NICK (1942- ) Nick Piom-bino is one of the founding members of the language school of poets and a particularly important contributor to the theory associated with experimental poetry and aesthetics in the post-Vietnam War era. Piombino demonstrates an important trend in poetics, a blend of writing practices adopted from poetry and more prosaic and speculative forms of writing: an extraordinary emphasis on the philosophical question of what constitutes the literary object. A social worker and psychoanalyst as well as a poet, Piombino has considered the status of a poem as an object for decades, most prominently in his essays.
Piombino was born and has continued to live in New York City. His writing began appearing in the late
1970s. Piombino's major awards include the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in poetry (1990-91) and a Postgraduate Center for Mental Health Author's Recognition Award (1992).
By using techniques associated with the prose poem, Piombino's poetry often looks like prose, and vice versa. The ensuing difficulty the reader may experience is a difficulty to categorize, but such a difficulty can be enjoyed. And in his explorations of the object-status of poetry, Piombino encourages us to read all such writing uncategorically. Poems and essays can be considered, according to Piombino, as equally "theoretical objects," hence the title of his 1999 volume Theoretical Objects. From an early essay written with poet Alan Davies, Piombino asserts that the "object state is the blur between the thing and a word. . . . The word itself is at first a thing, then becoming an object representing an object" (38). The implications of language as a blurry "object" carry over into his more recent work, often written as sentence groups broken into discrete verse lines: "Poetry is never satisfied, so it never satisfies. Poetry provokes and will not relent. But it won't intrude either. / Poetry is a chameleon. Poetry changes form faster than perception can follow, so poetry can enlarge perception" ("With Open Arms" ).
Piombino's declarative statements ask readers to question if what they are reading is a poem or an essay. But if it is true that "it never satisfies," the result of such questions is a kind of "blur," a writing that is "faster than perception," and an object that resides more in the reader's mind than in the world outside. By focusing on perception and other psychic phenomena, Piombino's training as a psychoanalyst shines through to augment the literary project of Language poetry with highly original insights into what poetry has been and can be in the future.
Was this article helpful?