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Peter Gizzi. Courtesy Salt Publishing.

Peter Gizzi (born 1959) is an award-winning American poet, an academic, and the renowned editor of American poet Jack Spicer.


Gizzi was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He delayed going to college, working in a factory winding resin tubes and in a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed adolescents. Working overnight at the treatment center, Gizzi read George Oppen's Collected Poems, along with H.D., Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Federico García Lorca, Baudelaire, Rimbaud "and almost anything published by Burning Deck."

Living in New York City, in part to keep in touch with the punk scene, he walked by the St. Mark's book store, and his eye was caught by a reprinted version of BLAST, with its shocking pink and diagonal title. He picked up a copy and read the manifestos. "I was home in that synthesis — Punk and Poetry had merged and I knew at once I wanted to edit my own journal and so I did," he later wrote.[1]

By the late 1980s, he was waiting tables, reading, and editing o•blék: a journal of language arts,[1] which he founded in 1987 with Connell McGrath. He attended Brown University, New York University and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

In 1991 he started editing the lectures of Jack Spicer for publication and went to SUNY Buffalo with support from Robert Creeley, Charles Bernstein, and Susan Howe, "and with the financial support (meager as it was) that working within an institution offered."[1] In 1993, after 8 years and 12 issues, he left o•blék, which soon folded.

Gizzi has taught at Brown University and The University of California, Santa Cruz. He currently (as of 2006) teaches poetry workshops at the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. He also is on the contributing editorial board to the literary journal Conjunctions. He is married to poet Elizabeth Willis. He is the brother of poet Michael Gizzi.


In 1994 he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets (selected by John Ashbery[2]). Gizzi has also held residencies at The MacDowell Colony, The Foundation of French Literature at Royaumont, Un Bureau Sur L’Atlantique, and the Centre International de Poesie Marseille. He has received fellowships from the Howard Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Since January 2011, Gizzi has held the position of Poet-in-Residence in the English Faculty of the University of Cambridge.



  • Periplum; or, I the blaze. Penngrove, CA: Avec Books, 1992.
  • Music for Films. Providence, RI: Paradigm, 1992.
  • Hours of the Book (chapbook). Gran Canaria: Zasterle, 1994.
  • Periplum, and other poems, 1987-1992. Cambridge, UK: Salt Publishing, 1994.
  • New Picnic Time. Buffalo, NY: Meow Press, 1995.
  • Ledger Domain. Providence, RI: Timoleon, 1995.
  • Artificial Heart. Providence, RI: Burning Deck Press, 1998.
  • Add This to the House. Cambridge, UK: Equipage, 1999.
  • Fin Amor (chapbook). San Diego, CA: Tougher Disguises, 2002.
  • Revival. New Haven, CT: Phylum Press, 2002.
  • Some Values of Landscape and Weather. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2003.
  • From a Cinematographer's Letter (art by Tom Raworth). London: Trolling Elves, 2004.
  • A Panic that Can Still Come upon Me. Brooklyn, NY: Ugly Duckling Press, 2006.
  • The Outernationale. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2007.
  • In Song and Story. Tungsten Press, 2010.
  • Pinocchio's Gnosis. Northampton, MA: Song Cave, 2011.
  • Threshold Songs. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2011.
  • Ode: Salute to the New York School, 1950-1970. Tucson, AZ: Letter Machine Press, 2012.
  • In Defense of Nothing: Selected poems, 1987-2011. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2014.


  • ''O-blek|o-blek: a journal of language arts. 1987–93
  • Writing from the New Coast (edited with Connell McGrath & Juliana Spahr). Stockbridge, MA: Garlic Press (O·blēk #12), 1993.
  • Exact Change Yearbook: 1995, No. 1 (edited with Damon Krukowski & Naomi Yang). Boston, MA: Exact Change / Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 1995.
  • Jack Spicer, The House that Jack Built: The collected lectures. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1998.
  • Jack Spicer, My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The collected poetry (edited with Kevin Killiam). Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2008.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[3]

See alsoEdit

Peter Gizzi at Poetry International in Rotterdam

Peter Gizzi at Poetry International in Rotterdam


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 [1] Gizzi, Peter, "Inside / Outside: Poets in the Academy", article in The Modern Review which identifies it as having been delivered when Gizzi was on an "AWP Panel, Chicago, March 2004", Winter 2006, "Volume II / Issue 2", accessed January 28, 2007
  2. Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award
  3. Search results = au:Peter Gizzi, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Aug. 27, 2014.

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