Poet, translator, and editor Peter Covino is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Rhode Island. He is the winner of the 2007 PEN American/Osterweil Award for emerging poets and also the author of Cut Off the Ears of Winter (New Issues, 2005) and the chapbook Straight Boyfriend (2001), winner of the Frank O’Hara Poetry Prize. His co-edited volume, Essays on Italian American Literature and Culture recently appeared from Bordighera Press, CUNY (2012).
Also by Peter Covino
The Right Place to Jump
The Right Place to Jump
A Green Rose Book
If Frank O’Hara had lived to chronicle the post 9/11 decade, he might have written these wonderfully funny, sad, heartbreaking, jaunty, and always delightfully accurate poems by Peter Covino. The Right Place to Jump is unique in its immediacy, the tonal range of its love poems and elegies, its ability to draw the reader into the bitter-sweet daily round of the “missed-numbed decade.” Who else would have begun a poem (“Broken Kingdom”) with the advice, “Always check expiration dates”? Here is a poet who so readily laughs at himself that we cannot help sharing in the fun—and the pain.
When I think of the landscape of American poetry—its boundaries and inclusions, its experiments and traditions, its vast wilderness and its communities—I cannot help but think of Peter Covino, whose work encompasses such a variety of tones and who himself is tied to multiple conversations without being rigidly defined by any of them. In The Right Place to Jump, Covino’s clarity of vision allows for narrative elements that tell the story of sexual awakening and maturation as a backdrop to deeper meditations on morality, mortality and the multi-cultural polyglot of America as both dream and reality. These are poems of lasting importance.
Praise for Cut Off the Ears of Winter
Winner of the 2007 PEN American /Joyce Osterweil Award
Images of real and symbolic violence ricochet and reflect off each other in this elegant and disturbing collection. The poems chronicle, among other things, a history of childhood abuse and its after effects, but in a larger sense, they also explore through the lens of myth, art, religion, and popular culture, the underlying and often unacknowledged brutality beneath even mundane events. Covino’s voice is urgent: ‘This is my last dollar, last cigarette, last match,’ but it is also witty, sophisticated, erudite, and street-wise. How can we not pay attention?