Existing at the intersection of darkness and play, the noisy, irreverent, and self-conscious poems in Interrobang take clinical “phobias” and clinical “philias” as their conceit. Each poem makes its own music, the crescendos and decrescendos born of obsessions over anxiety and lust. Encompassing a range of forms (but mostly sonnets), each piece toes the line between traditional meter and contemporary sonic play, while a tell-tale heart beats beneath the floor of the collection, constantly reminding us of our shames, fears, and the clock’s unrelenting ticking. Through individual stories about love, degradation of the self, the redemptive power of genuine humility, and the refuge offered by art and language, Interrobang, winner of the 2011 A Room of Her Own Foundation To the Lighthouse Poetry Publication Prize, illustrates how even the worst-case scenario of these pathologies are, fundamentally, just extensions of the dark truths to which every one of us can relate.
Praise for Interrobang:
“Jessica Piazza’s brilliantly conceived debut collection, Interrobang, is a stunning sequence of (primarily) sonnets that unfolds with both a mature formal acuity and a profound philosophical sophistication. It is an absolute tour de force. These poems emerge as reflections of a kaleidoscopic self as they interrogate those fears and desires that drive and haunt us. Whatever the answers might be to these exclamatory questions, the speaker of these beautiful and troubling poems knows she has only one response available to her–to continue regardless, and to persevere.”—David St. John
“What an ear, here! Jessica Piazza’s poems are such etched, alive word sculptures, crystal prism poems of love and longing and punch.”—Aimee Bender
“Jessica Piazza is an heir of Hopkins, a poet engaging generously in metaphysical struggle. In this unusually deft book, she sets out to offer her voice on the altar of iambic pentameter and shares the fears she encounters there with quirky, firm metrical dexterity and breathtakingly succinct wit. Interrobang is a serious accomplishment.”—Annie Finch