W. S. Di Piero

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William Simone Di Piero (born 1945 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American poet, translator, essayist, and educator. He has published ten collections of poetry and five collections of essays in addition to his translations. In 2012 Di Piero received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for his lifetime achievement; in making the award, Christian Wiman noted, "He’s a great poet whose work is just beginning to get the wide audience it deserves."[1]


He grew up in an Italian working-class neighborhood, attended St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia and received a master's degree from San Francisco State University in 1971.

He taught at Louisiana State University, and Northwestern University.[2] In 1982, he joined Stanford University.[3][4] He is an Art Critic,[5] and curated a photography exhibit of Jonathan Elderfield.[6]

His work appeared in AGNI,[7] Ploughshares,[8] and Triquarterly.[9]

He lives in San Francisco.[10][11]


Poetry may never again be seen as essential equipment for living, but when practiced by W. S. Di Piero it might at least be valued as a handy household appliance.. .. Di Piero's seventh collection, Skirts and Slacks, deserves convenient placement by the telephone, television, computer or radio so as to be ready to retune a static-buzzed mind's reflective potential.[12]

Brother Fire is a reference to the Catholic saint Francis of Assisi, who, Di Piero explained, addressed objects in nature as Brother or Sister. The title and its related frontispiece “Brother Francis to Brother Leone” elaborate the landscape as a machination of God, wherein each creature, object, and force works in a grand system manifesting the divine will.... Di Piero’s no holier or more certain than the rest of us, and maybe because of that, we can trust him.[13]

Peter O'Leary reviewing Chinese Apples: New and Selected Poems in Poetry:

I find the work solitary, lonely even, which seems, on reflection, a necessary quality for the poet's survival. Though the poems depict vibrant scenes, I sensed them happening inside the poet's head: the circulatory system of Di Piero's spirit tends to swirl his poems into rather ghostlier demarcations than celebrations of the self.[14]



Poetry collections[edit]

Journal contributions[edit]





  1. ^ a b "W.S. Di Piero Awarded 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize". The Poetry Foundation. April 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Writers in Residence - Fall Quarter 2000: Center for the Writing Arts - Northwestern University". northwestern.edu. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  3. ^ "ItalianAmericanWriters.com: Contemporary Italian American Writing". italianamericanwriters.com. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  4. ^ http://english.stanford.edu/bio.php?name_id=42
  5. ^ "Exhibition Notes by W. S. Di Piero - The New Criterion". newcriterion.com. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  6. ^ "CUE Art Foundation : Jonathan Elderfield". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on February 24, 2009. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  7. ^ "AGNI Online: Author W S di Piero". bu.edu. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  8. ^ "Read By Author | Ploughshares". pshares.org. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  9. ^ http://www.highbeam.com/Search.aspx?q=W.+S.+Di+Piero+triquarterly
  10. ^ "W. S. Di Piero - Poetry Foundation". poetryfoundation.org. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  11. ^ "W.S. Di Piero | Directory of Writers | Poets & Writers". pw.org. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  12. ^ Mobilio, Albert (August 5, 2001). "Poems Around the House". The New York Times.  Review of Skirts and Slacks.
  13. ^ Kieley, David (January 2005). "Brother Fire by W. S. Di Piero". Bookslut. 
  14. ^ O'Leary, Peter (November 2007). "The Chops of Hell: Chinese Apples: New and Selected Poems". Poetry. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  15. ^ a b "Stanford Report: Honors & Awards". Stanford University. May 14, 2008. 
  16. ^ Award and dates verified using the searchable database at "The Wallace Foundation Grantees Database". The Wallace Foundation. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 

Further reading[edit]

Online poetry[edit]