The Communion of Asiago
by Stephen Murabito
Publisher: Star Cloud Press
Year of Publication: 2006
Page Count: 73
The Oswego Fugues, by Stephen Murabito
Lowering the Body, by Stephen Murabito
Food and family and music are the central figures in Stephen Murabito's wonderful Communion of Asiago, a book whose broad humor and warm storytelling invite the reader to "taste, hear, and see." Whether invoking the ordinary pleasures of bread and cheese, sausage and beer; or the more exotic charms of artichokes and garlic, Beaujolais and escargot; these poems reveal how "the simple will become magic." In his easy, affectionate voice, Murabito praises the sensory, from his family's homemade kielbasa and kiszka, to Sonny Rollins's "last goosehonk toot." For Murabito, food is the music of love-and of peace, forgiveness, grace, and mercy-urging us all not to "be strange anymore," but to "defy death and sing." Communion of Asiago will tickle anyone's palate, satisfy anyone's hunger; it's a real symphony, a feast.
—Ronald Wallace, Author of Long for This World (University of Pittsburgh Press)
The spirit behind the great poems in Murabito's new collection, Communion of Asiago, is like Lorca's Duende. The best of it is memory well crafted into personal, gem-like narrative poems that take you far into childhood. There is a wild edge to this spirit that is free and lyrical too in its formal elegance on the page. If you cherish contemporary American poetry, this is clearly a book that you will admire and love.
—Virgil Suarez, Author of 90 Miles: Selected and New Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press)
The poems in Communion of Asiago are so redolent of garlic, black olives, hot peppers, Polish Kielbasa, New York corned beef, and upstate apples that they give you an appetite for the kind of poetry that lingers not only in the mind but on the tongue. They're more than just "food poems," however: They are poems about wives, mothers, and grandmothers; about cooks, butchers, and waitresses; about love, sex, memory, and family life. Murabito is the kind of poet you'll want to come home to: one who understands that there's more to both writing and cooking that assembling the necessary ingredients, and that a good poem- like a good meal-is one that satisfies a craving you didn't know you had.
—Sue Ellen Thompson, Author of The Leaving: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press)
No one inside these covers sips or nibbles or picks at peas or quaffs sparkling water-there's too little time and too much sorrow for that. Steve Murabito's poems glory in the senses and in the delicious, fallen world in which the senses drown us. Here, a fig can save you, a hunk of cheese feed you for years, a gulp of Bardolino bring peace. Full of tenderness and swagger, the solace of food and family, and the healing moan of the blues, Communion of Asiago will fill you up and leave you hungry for more.
—John Repp, Author of Gratitude (Cherry Grove Collections)
About the Author:
A native of Oswego, New York, Stephen Murabito is an associate professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. He was a National Endowment for the Arts fellow in poetry in 1992. His poems and stories have appeared widely in such periodicals as Beloit Poetry Journal, Mississippi Review, 5AM, Poet Lore; North American Review, Brooklyn Review, Caketrain, and Antietam Review. He is the author of the poetry chapbook A Little Dinner Music (Parallel Press, 2004) and the book-length poem The Oswego Fugues (Star Cloud Press, 2005); he is also the author and editor of the composition reader Connections, Contexts, and Possibilities (Prentice Hall, 2001) He lives in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, with his wife, April, and their four children-Angelina, Estella, Antonia, and Sebastian.
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