Item description for Everyone Coming Toward You by David Petruzelli...
These poems speak with a breezy candor and wit-reminiscent of Campbell McGrath's own narrative work. The language is warm and highly accessible, the themes inviting (working for a Long Island escort service, having the great Jackson Pollock reach into his baby crib) and the stories are compelling. These are stories the guy sitting on the next bar stool might tell you if the guy had a poet's gift for language.
David Petruzelli grew up in New Jersey and for more than 20 years worked as a writer and appraiser for auction houses in the United States and Switzerland. His poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Gettysburg Review, Partisan Review and elsewhere.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.8" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.4" Weight: 0.25 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2005
Publisher Tupelo Press
ISBN 1932195157 ISBN13 9781932195156
Reviews - What do customers think about Everyone Coming Toward You?
An Encouraging Debut Jan 31, 2006
I do not see anything particularly illuminating in speculations that Petruzelli's success on the page derives from a lack of affiliation with the kind of "academic program" another reviewer maligns here; I believe that these cheeky attacks on the MFA phenomenon are so popular now as to have become a kind of cliche rite of passage into a literary cadre that is apparently too cool for school. That is wonderful to hear and I wish them all the best, but I am hopeful that Petruzelli's achievement in the frequently delightful "Everyone Coming Towards You" is more than a mere catalyst for platforms and soap boxes.
I do, however, sympathize with the interest in figuring out how a debut such as Petruzelli's so expertly manages to transcend the self-indulgent gush featured in many popular journals today. Whether or not it has anything to do with his absence from the "creative writing" craze currently sweeping across the country is anyone's guess, but it is obvious that Petruzelli is attuned to a poetic wavelength almost entirely his own. Through his mastery of several skillfully employed devices such as rhythm, humor and narrative enhanced by a refreshingly uncertain narrator, Petruzelli explores an inviting spaciousness of memory that widens with every turned page.
Bursts of uniquely rhythmic lines like "the smiling boy emerging from the Chinese box / unharmed" or "the wife away and one light telling / where their bedroom was" ensure that readers will remember some of these poems as dilligently as Petruzelli recollects the past they document. Especially delightful is his resistance to the omniscient narrator, conceding to a certain lack of precision that time imposes on memory when he writes, in the book's deeply nostalgic opening poem about third graders listening hard for the next clap of afternoon thunder, "I think we grew quiet then / and began to concentrate, / as though this was September / and we would behave."
This repeated refusal to uphold the literary lie that we remember everything exactly as it happened years later--a conceit made so controversial now by news that James Frey's "memoir" isn't what Oprah thought it was--discovers possibility where the omniscient narrator falters. This kind of modesty enables a distinctly plainspoken voice that is at once playful and poignant, a difficult balance Petruzelli navigates with impressive restraint throughout much of the book.
Conversational verse such as Petruzelli's usually fails because of a tendency not to look beyond the self, but despite the predominance of the all-too-familiar lyric "I" in these poems, memory lets the reader off on an avenue peopled with characters, ideas and reflections that transcend the usual confessional preoccupations. That is why this book is such a hopeful suggestion that poetry really DOES matter.
Impressive First Collection Jan 9, 2006
What you won't find in Petruzelli's poems are the affectations characteristic of so many first collections. These poems are both accessible and challenging. They are narratives with the piercing insight only poetry can give. This is neither a poet searching for a voice or style, nor one who is fresh out of an academic program and too busy hustling the institution to pay attention to his craft. There are no "filler" poems in this collection. Petruzelli set his standards high and worked on these poems for years and years- yet the poems feel effortless, seamless, authentic. Some of my favorite poems from this collection: Sunrise Escorts, Her Every No, The Advice of Noon, Stephanie Above. I had the pleasure of interviewing Petruzelli for Mipoesias.
A link to the interview: http://www.mipoesias.com/2006Volume20Issue1/petruzelliinterview.html
New Poems in the same Issue: http://www.mipoesias.com/2006Volume20Issue1/petruzelli.html
I highly recommend this collection and look forward to his next!
A Voice from the Past Coming Toward You in the Present Jul 30, 2005
The storytelling in these poems is so masterful that the reader feels he or she is right there in the middle of the experience. The poet has a unique point of view and perspective, but also everything is so keenly described that there is the pleasurable feeling of having been made part of an intimate experience. The language is so completely surefooted (not to mention beautiful), that each poem-story is in a way like a long meditation on memory, with the poet as our trustworthy guide to the experience. (I really shun poetry that I can't understand and feel left out of.) Plus there is always an actual beginning and an ending, which is so satisfying. But the quiet understatedness of the endings makes them in a way not endings, since they tend to be expansive - hinting at much more.
There is a simply wonderful poem in here entitled "What I Do To Them" about two teachers (whom the poet presumably knew and each of whom committed suicide) in which he has accommodated the comic and the tragic beautifully at a single stroke. It is almost as if one death is a counterweight to the other - and the experience is totally balanced, never slips into the sentimental or maudlin. And then there are the depth soundings of "The Conch in the Next Life," which is a poem so chock full, it couldn't possibly hold any more - it's a perfect marriage of form and content. The poem that contains the title phrase, "Hallways," is the last one in the collection, and is the one most outspokenly about the experience of memory. For anyone who ever went to school, it will have the clear auditory impact of the joyful final bell, with everyone coming toward you. But really, there are so many wonderful poems in here, it is not fair to single one out. You need to buy it and read them all.