Di Prisco has published essays, poems, and book reviews in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, The San Francisco Review of Books, The American Reader, The Threepenny Review, 88, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, The Cincinnati Review, Epoch, Fine Madness, Forklift Ohio, Italian Americana, Kayak, Midwest Quarterly, Pebble, Poetry Northwest (winner of the Theodore Roethke Prize), Prairie Schooner, The Remington Review, Sycamore Review, Syracuse Poems, Third Coast, March Hares (Best Poems of Fine Madness 1982-2002), Zyzzyva, and many other journals.
Rare Bird Books
Bear Star Press
Do Not Call at all
The National Do Not Call Registry has been a boon to someone like me who treasures domestic tranquility. I can honestly say my world has lately become much more civil, now that those telemarketers who targeted my number are on the run and my dinner hours are liberated from once-in-a-lifetime offers of prime vacation real estate in the Everglades.
'Songs for the Missing,' by Stewart O'Nan
Psychologists argue about the existence of a happiness set point, a stable measure of our natural temperament.
Forbidden love in the time of Vichy
Set in Nazi-occupied France, that banal world of evil and repression, "The Mercy Room" by Gilles Rozier is a spare novel of sexual obsession and boundless desire. It is a story filled with pain.
A computer programmer's secret life of dark eroticism
"Diablerie" is the lean, new novel by the prolific, much-admired Walter Mosley. Here, an unprepossessing 47-year-old computer programmer in New York City, Ben Dibbuk, tells his own very dark story centered on murder, sex and betrayal.
Book review: 'Black Market Truth'
If you haven't recently thought much about the lost writings of Aristotle, and even if you find the philosophical dialogue a soporific literary genre, you may well find yourself inclined otherwise while devouring "Black Market Truth," a "philosophical suspense thriller" and page-turner by Sharon Kaye.
Fluent in Pashto and U2
Who has the heart to tell the story that is Afghanistan? Who can capture the violence, the tribal intrigue and treachery, the absurdity, the devastation, the heroism and hypocrisy, the desperation and aspiration? Who can grasp the complexities of the war with the Russians, the Taliban, the American military intervention and the post-Sept. 11 world? A new book suggests it isn't Thomas L. Friedman.
Fiction review: 'Gone Tomorrow'
A hot young writer named George Canaris sails from Santa Monica for a small Ohio college where they give him a prestigious chair and a criminally light teaching load. (Go with it. Canaris finds the scenario implausible, too.)
Three women on the edge, but together
"The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" it ain't. Like the young women of that young-adult fantasy, the members of "The Bitch Posse" also bond. Only they bond with an irrevocable, terrifying difference in Martha O'Connor's unforgettable, dark first novel. "
How nuns helped tame a nation
If you were taught by Catholic nuns, perhaps you still tuck your legs under your desk, raise your hand before speaking and can never forget when Sister Eustacia warned: "Don't do anything you wouldn't do before the Blessed Virgin Mary." Then again, if you never found yourself inside a Catholic classroom or hospital, you may think nuns can fly.
Blood by the bay / The city's the main character in a hard-boiled anthology
This is one book that should come with a scrip for Valium. If you do not feel jumpy or paranoid after reading "San Francisco Noir," an entertaining anthology of overheated short stories by local writers -- you did not read it.
The scandal, the coverup, the aftereffects
Zhou Enlai, premier of China until 1976, was asked his opinion about the effect of the French Revolution. His verdict: "Too soon to tell." If a cold- blooded tyrant cannot enjoy the long view, who can?
'Broken home' is still home
Before John Milton was the towering author of "Paradise Lost," he was a 17th century pamphleteering newlywed in his 30s. When his blushing bride (age 17) left him after a few weeks of presumably not conjugal bliss, he penned his famous divorce tracts.
Mighty Mark Twain, and all his tributaries
Show of hands: Who needs another book about Mark Twain? A new 627-page biography? With an additional nearly 100 pages of notes and bibliography? Well, Ron Powers has written "Mark Twain: A Life" anyway, and here is the news: This is a book we can use. It is an impressive achievement.
Garry Wills, historian and papal critic, explains why he stays Catholic
If you like Tony Soprano, there are popes you will love. Of course, this was old news in the 14th century, when the Catholic poet Dante put in his Inferno "Popes and prelates butt[ing] their tonsured pates." Nobody will confuse the Badda Bing Club with the Vatican, but one pope did die in the arms of his married lover, and more than a few popes were as dapper as John Gotti and as loyal as Sonny "The Bull" Gravano.
A morality war over sex ed
On the heels of prom and other rites of spring comes Kristin Luker's new book about sex education in America. "When Sex Goes to School: Warring Views on Sex -- and Sex Education -- Since the Sixties" should tempt just about anybody who has an interest in sex -- along with anybody who has a child, was a child, has a family, remembers being in a family, went to high school, grew up in the '60s or any other decade, is an atheist or a believer, pays taxes, votes or registers a pulse.
Shakespeare With Tears
Most English teachers are familiar with the Shakespeare of legend and tradition: the Stratford boy who may have poached deer and rabbit, the ambitious playwright vilified by a rival as an ''upstart Crow,'' the man who willed, curiously, his ''second-best bed'' to his wife.
Reflections in the Rearview Mirror of a Departing Board Chair
This is my seventh year as board chair of Redwood Day School (California). This is also my ninth year on the board, and it will be (my decision) my last. I am told seven years is a long time to be board chair. No board chair at Redwood Day School had ever gone more than three. Maybe I am a slow learner, but it’s taken me seven years to figure out a few things that might be worth sharing.
Whatever else Di Prisco’s witty (mostly catalogue) poems may be about, they are first about language— how it rollicks and leaps, how it surprises, how it can hurtle the reader from one wild image to the next without even a pause. And perhaps, next, Di Prisco’s poems are about imagination itself, how a piano tuner can drop into a poem with his hero sandwich without warning, for instance, or one can find “a moose in the fridge.” The world of these poems is a zany world. The voice in the poems is young, energetic, funny, full of an “impossible joy";
it holds “nothing back.” The reader feels propelled, as if on a Nantucket sleigh ride, through a world that is, at bottom, shifty and chaotic and often dreamlike because (as DiPrisco tells us in “Mission Statement” ) “What is a man without a dream/ I say he is calamari soup.” We are caught up in this “dream” with him as “he zooms toward what’s left of the sea."
-- Patricia Fargnoli
My Mission Statement
My mission is to be a unique driving experience.
My mission is to be putty in your hands.
My mission is to be your favorite pair of jeans.
My mission is to whisper in your ear in
Several pre-selected Romance languages. To star
In a movie that takes Sundance by storm.....
More Elements of Style
“Hopefully” is an adverb meaning “full of hope.”
You may write, “You hopefully received the thousand red roses”
If you’re dating the New Year’s Day Parade in Pasadena....
Why Teach Will
Thanks for taking time in your day jammed with helicopter parenting and multitasking,
Tweeting and e-mailing, Kindling and Blackberrying, Facebooking and iPhoning, Skyping and
Googling, to read these words, and, congrats, you’ve reached the end of the first sentence.