On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths (Hardcover)
Copper Canyon Press, 9781556593970, 81pp.
Publication Date: May 29, 2012
"The poems in On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths are taut, lucid, lyric, filled with complex emotional reflection while avoiding the usual difficulties of highbrow poetry."--New York Times Book Review
"Perillo has long lived with, and written about, her struggle with debilitating multiple sclerosis. Her bracing sixth book of poems, published concurrently with her debut story collection, takes an unflinching, though not unsmiling, look at mortality. Perillo has a penchant for dark humor, for jokes that stick."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Perillo's poetic persona is funny, tough, bold, smart, and righteous. A spellbinding storyteller and a poet who makes the demands of the form seem as natural as a handshake, she pulls readers into the beat and whirl of her slyly devastating descriptions."--Booklist
"Whoever told you poetry isn't for everyone hasn't read Lucia Perillo. She writes accessible, often funny poems that border on the profane."--Time Out New York
"Lucia Perillo's much lauded writing has been consistently fine--with its deep, fearless intelligence; its dark and delicious wit; its skillful lyricism; and its refreshingly cool but no less embracing humanity." --Open Books: A Poem Emporium
The poetry of Lucia Perillo is fierce, tragicomic, and contrarian, with subjects ranging from coyotes and Scotch broom to local elections and family history. Formally braided, Perillo gathers strands of the mythic and mundane, of media and daily life, as she faces the treachery of illness and draws readers into poems rich in image and story.
When you spend many hours alone in a room
you have more than the usual chances to disgust yourself--
this is the problem of the body, not that it is mortal
but that it is mortifying. When we were young they taught us
do not touch it, but who can keep from touching it,
from scratching off the juicy scab? Today I bit
a thick hangnail and thought of Schneebaum,
who walked four days into the jungle
and stayed for the kindness of the tribe--
who would have thought that cannibals would be so tender?
Lucia Perillo's Inseminating the Elephant (Copper Canyon Press, 2009) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and received the Bobbitt award from the Library of Congress. She lives in Seattle, Washington.