Edited by Pedro Lopez Adorno, Juan Flores
"Pedro Pietri: Selected Poetry gathers the most important poems of the author's classic books. . . . The result is 240 pages of brilliant writing that delivers one of the sharpest looks into the Nuyorican experience ever offered . . . [A] collection like this should be read and celebrated, because it ensures that his legacy as spoken word innovator and his status as of the most explosively talented and unique voices in 20th century poetry is recognized and exposed to new readers."––Gabino Iglesias
"Suicide Note from a Cockroach' excerpted in Smoke Signals"
Feb 5, 2016
Pedro Pietri's poem from Selected Poetry excerpted.
Smoke Signals Magazine
The Paris Review
"'They worked / They worked / They worked / and they died / They died broke / They died owing / They died never knowing / what the front entrance / of the first national city bank looks like.' Pedro Pietri wrote 'Puerto Rican Obituary' in 1969, after having served in Vietnam. There's no mention of that war in the poem, but there's a strong sense of futility, death, and disaffection that must have been informed by witnessing the violence of war and then coming home to unfulfilled dreams. "Obituary" is the first poem in City Lights’ new collection of the late poet’s work, much of which is otherwise only available in out-of-print or photocopied editions. I hadn’t heard of Pietri before reading this collection, which is a shame because he strikes me as the Ginsberg of the Vietnam era—combining politics, race, and the personal in performative poetry. His lines are propulsive and witty, especially in the playful 'Telephone Booth' series, which reads like a flirtatious midnight conversation: 'because I do not / want to make / future generations / lose sleep I / will do my very best / not to influence / anyone regardless / of what a nice ass / they seem to have.’"—Nicole Rudick
"In this charming and powerful posthumous volume, Pietri (1944–2004), a co-founder of New York City's legendary Nuyorican Poets Café, shows off the sharp, surreal sense of humor he employs in writing on the social and political issues affecting New York City's Puerto Rican community … abundant joy and imagination that may inspire the reader to pick up a pen: 'the magic of / writing poetry,' Pietri declares, 'is not knowing / how to do it / right or wrong!'"
San Francisco Chronicle
"Like 'Howl,' [Pietri's poetry] became a cornerstone of new consciousness for a group of outsiders ready to declare their independence from the mainstream — in this case, the group Pietri himself helped name as Nuyoricans … much of his best work remained unpublished or buried in small-press magazines. Editors Juan Flores and Pedro López Adorno have thankfully gathered a substantial amount of Pietri’s uncollected work in this book"––Gerald Nicosia