Brother Fire (Paperback)

By W.S. Di Piero

Knopf, 9780375710490, 96pp.

Publication Date: January 17, 2006

List Price: 15.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In this rich collection, W. S. Di Piero seeks the spirit and substance of illumination in all its forms. He finds meaning, or shows us how we attempt to do so, in the rituals and events that mark our year–the Fourth of July, Halloween, New Year’s Eve–and in the ordinary activities of mowing, dancing, drinking, trying to stay warm. “The Kiss” recounts how, as a young man, the poet was not called to the priesthood; in “Prayer Meeting,” he recalls watching his mother iron, with her “hopeless routine longing,” and declares, “I wanted more than what I prayed for.”

For all their simplicity, Di Piero’s direct, often conversational turns of phrase reveal a world aflame with troubles, with love, with surprising lyrical epiphanies.

Didn’t You Say Desire Is

like the elephant fog
shredded north
a white sun going down
Bessemers fired
through clouds horizoned
on my dog-eared stack
It feels good and right
to waste earnest hours
of an early evening’s
daylight saving time
in uncertainty and want
these cranky climates
changing in us while we
haven’t started dinner yet.

About the Author

W. S. Di Piero was born in South Philadelphia in 1945. He is the author of eight books of poetry, as well as four volumes of translations. He writes about art for the San Diego Reader and has published three collections of essays and criticism on art, literature, and personal experience. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Lila Wallace—Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. He lives in San Francisco and teaches at Stanford University.

W. S. Di Piero’s Skirts and Slacks is available in Knopf paperback.