City Dog

Trade Paper – $17.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2516-2
Publication Date
February 2009
Page Count
208 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

City Dog

W.S. Di Piero

When a self-proclaimed "lazy scholar" embarks on a trip through his life's influences--as diverse as girl-group doo-wop, Yeats, and Van Gogh--readers are in for an illuminating ride. This collection of essays from cultural critic Di Piero veers from his early years as the son of immigrants in Philadelphia to his working life in art, film, music, and poetry. Along with a few choice essays reprinted from out-of-print collections, Di Piero's new work shows him to be insightful about himself and his work despite his protestations against the "boosterism" of autobiography. Through the lens of his sharp artistic analysis, readers see his story--an immigrant story filled with the music and mystery of a multilingual family, the men of his neighborhood wearing so many hats as they worked--as the auspicious beginning for his life of observation and revelation. His prose sings along, tripping across slang, poetry, and painters with the same precision that allows him to nearly dance about architecture. Though Di Piero would claim that his life's path "lurches and swerves," his essays prove that he has wandered expansively and with purpose--a city dog trotting across continents, along pages, and through galleries.

About the Author

W. S. Di Piero is a professor of English and creative writing at Stanford University. His books include Out of Eden, Shooting the Works, and the poetry collections Brother Fire, Shadows Burning, and Skirts and Slacks. Bookforum, the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, and Poetry have all featured his work. A regular contributor to Threepenny Review, he also writes a regular column on the visual arts for the San Diego Reader. He lives in San Francisco, California.


"W. S. Di Piero is probably the most consistently compelling and idiosyncratic prose writer among contemporary American poets."


"W. S. Di Piero is one of the most bracing critical intelligences now at work in our national scene of writing."

Boston Book Review

"Mallarme said the poet's job is to purify the language of the tribe. W. S. Di Piero does just that, mainly by aligning his rich, working class memroies with a larger world of art and politics. He says that the best criticsm is written by someone who hears singing  and sets out simply 'to absorb and carry on that songfulness.' This is W. S. Di Piero himself does superbly."

Library Journal