Early Works

Pier Giorgio Di Cicco

ISBN 13: 978-1-894469-43-2
$19.95 CDN
200 pp

Pier Giorgio Di Cicco’s literary rise is legendary. With incendiary energy he published 13 books between 1975 and 1986. Each new book was a startling and daring departure from the previous one and this body of work “blazed,” in Dennis Lee’s words, “one of the moving, exemplary paths in contemporary poetry.” To the surprise of many, by the time Virgin Science came out in 1986, Di Cicco had already turned his back on poetry to join the Catholic Church, first as a monk, then as an ordained priest. What followed was 15 years of literary silence until Mansfield Press convinced Di Cicco to publish Living in Paradise: New and Selected Poems in 2001. Since then Di Cicco has resumed his frenetic writing pace and published five more books with Mansfield, including the Trillium-nominated The Dark Time of Angels.

Now Mansfield Press brings back into print two pivotal books from Di Cicco’s earlier career – books that show the artistic concerns of a writer who has always been able to stop on a dime and reinvent himself. Flying Deeper into the Century is Di Cicco at his most stridently public: provocative, angry and satirical. These poems, published in 1982, take aim at a culture at war with itself and a consumer society run amok with well-meaning hypocrites. His slangy conversational tone here is occasionally drop-dead funny. In keeping with his chameleon nature, only a couple of years later he is writing the very different, difficult and searching poems of Virgin Science, an intensely personal exploration of science and spirituality. Virgin Science begins with some of the anger of Flying Deeper into the Century, but ends with a private serenity that is clearly hard-won. Together, these two remarkable books illuminate the artistic trajectory of one of Canada’s most gifted poets.

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