Information about the poet.
Lucia Perillo’s hard-edged yet vulnerable poems attempt to reconcile the comic impulse—the humorous deflection of anxiety—with the complications and tragedies of living in a mortal, fragile “meat cage.” Perillo’s surgical honesty—and biting, nourishing humor—chronicle human failings, sexuality, and the collision of nature with the manufactured world. Whether recalling her former career as a naturalist experimenting on white rats or watching birds from her wheelchair, she draws the reader into unforgettable places rich in image and story.
Don’t look up, because the ceiling is suffering
some serious violations of the electrical code,
the whole chaotic kelplike mess…[more]
From the snowy egret to a woman’s floating rib, nudism in America to Holy Communion, Simone de Beauvoir to Nathan’s hot dogs–the subjects in Lucia Perillo’s fourth collection of poetry lift off from surprising places and touch down on new ground. Hers is a vision like no other. In “To My Big Nose,” she muses: “hard to imagine what the world would have looked like / if not seen through your pink shadow. / You who are built from random parts / like a mythical creature—a gryphon or sphinx.”
Fearless, focused, ironic, irreverent, truly and deeply felt, the poems in Luck Is Luck draw upon the circumstances of being a woman, the harsh realities of nature, the comfort of familiar things, and universally recognizable anxieties about faith and grief, love and desire. In “Languedoc,” she writes, “Long ago / I might have been attracted by your tights and pantaloons / but now they just look silly, ditto for your instrument / that looks like a gourd with strings attached / (the problem…[more]
In poems that are at once colloquial and elegant, Perillo strives to bridge the gap between the exuberant voice of the streets and the rarefied voice of literary tradition. Using the long lines and narrative style that have been identified with some of the finest male poets of our times, Perillo tells the stories of female experience with a grim eye for the comic and an ear turned to language’s highest pitch.
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,…[more]