Celebrating Lucia Perillo

Lucia Perillo died on October 16 of this year. A MacArthur Genius who was shortlisted for the Pulitzer, Perillo was a poet of crafted precision, observation, and wit. John W Marshall, previous owner of Open Books, eulogized her for us, in this review.

As you probably know, we run an original poem from a local poet each Tuesday. Each poet recommends the next, in a chain that takes us places a call for submission never would: we travel on the tastes and friendships of poets.

Last December, after the death of Madeline DeFrees, we ran five of her poems. We never planned on this being macabre tradition, but it seemed fitting to us to honor Perillo in the same way. We are very lucky that this was made possible Copper Canyon Press, home to both DeFress and Perillo.

So, once again, our grateful thanks to Joseph Bednarik, co-publisher of Copper Canyon Press, for this gracious permission. Last year, Paul Constant wrote something about Copper Canyon that goes just as well here today for Perillo as it does for DeFrees:

Copper Canyon is that rarest of publishers: they understand the sacredness of their charge, the fact that they are not the owners of the words they publish so much as their temporary stewards. Quite simply, DeFrees could not have chosen better guardians for her legacy; Copper Canyon will keep her poems alive for generations to come.

The first of our picks goes up today around 10am, and another three will follow on the subsequent Tuesdays. If you like what you see, we heartily recommend Time Will Clean the Carcass Bones, released by Copper Canyon last February. It's a powerful work, a beautifully designed and printed book. In fact, picking up two copies from a local bookstore — one for a holiday gift for a friend, and one for yourself, of course — would be highly recommended.

Our normal poetry cycle will resume in January after this month-long focus on the work of a poet we are so sorry to have lost.