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W. S. Di Piero

1945- , South Philadelphia , PA , United States
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W. S. Di Piero
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Poet, translator, and essayist W. S. Di Piero was born in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1945 and grew up in an Italian working class neighborhood. He attended St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia and received a master's degree from San Francisco State University in 1971.

His collections of poetry include Chinese Apples: New and Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007), Skirts and Slacks (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), Shadows Burning (Northwestern University Press, 1995), The Restorers (University of Chicago Press, 1992), and The Dog Star (University of Massachusetts Press, 1990).

His books of translation include Euripedes's Ion (1996); The Ellipse: Selected Poems of Leonardo Sinisgalli (1983); This Strange Joy: Selected Poems of Sandro Penna (1982), for which he won the Academy of American Poets' first Raiziss/de Palchi Book Prize; and Giacomo Leopardi's Pensieri (1981).

His essay collections are Shooting the Works: On Poetry and Pictures (1996), Out of Eden: Essays on Modern Art (1991), and Memory and Enthusiasm: Essays, 1975-1985 (1989).

Di Piero's honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and a grant from the Lila Wallace-Readers' Digest Fund.

He lives in San Francisco and is a professor of English at Stanford University.

by this poet

We loiter in the cobblestone alley,
Beans, Clams, Yom-Yom and me,
smoking punk. Snip the wiry stem,
trim the nubby end, scratch fire
from a zipper then pass the stink around.
William Penn designed these blocks
squared off, brick, crosshatched by alleys
to prevent the spread of fire. So fire
runs down my throat,