Familiar History by Guiseppe Getto
Guiseppe Getto expertly de-romanticizes the landscape and mythology of the American west, revealing a world defined largely by struggle and failure and broken lives. He leads us into a harrowing, deeply ambivalent personal history, and suggests that our collective and personal pasts are inescapable, continually merging into the present through the physicality of memory: “From fields gone fallow / for years,” he writes, “I trudge uphill, sinking clear / to my socks in alkaline dirt.” These are beautiful, honest, and heartbreaking poems.
–Corrinne Clegg Hales, Author of To Make it Right
Guiseppe Getto’s poems are both dense and expansive, reflective of the Western American landscape of his birth and youth. With an earned maturity and sophisticated awareness of craft (“the tight whine of sung syllables”), Getto has written his “way out of dust devils / that spin apart at the seams,” and he takes his reader on a journey “headed west to east,” a journey that “feels like going up the downslope.” But with Getto at the wheel, we know we’re going somewhere that matters. These are poems to read over and over, because each reading promises that the story will mean “something different / every telling.” Hold onto this book. Hold tight.
–Gailmarie Pahmeier, Reno Poet Laureate, Author of The Rural Lives of Nice Girls
In Guiseppe Getto’s poems, language is visceral. You hear it singing in your ears, feel it in your mouth. He seems to be a master of both the lyric and the prose poem, a rare gift. His sense of place is acute, almost painful. You’re pinned to the map: “After awhile you begin / to realize light in the desert can penetrate / anything.” This is poetry of frightening but fearless revelation: “Someone said they never saw a wild thing / sorry for itself. Me neither, but it seemed sometimes / like they ought to be.” I haven’t read anything like these poems in a long time, and I’ve missed them.
–Liza Wieland, Author of Quickening