What's written on the body

by Peter Pereira

Paper Book, 2007





Port Townsend, Wash. : Copper Canyon Press, c2007.


"It's rare in contemporary poetry to find a book as boldly celebratory as Peter Pereira's new collection."--Chase Twichell InWhat's Written on the Body, physician Peter Pereira explores the body, medicine, wordplay, gardening, family, and domestic gay life, often drawing from his experience as a community clinic doctor in Seattle. An avid Scrabble player, anagrammer, and cruciverbalist, Pereira opens the collection with a delightful selection of wordplay poems, as a counterpoint to poems recounting the day-to-day practice of a family physician, from suturing a wound in the ER to extracting an eraser from a child's nose. From "Body Talk": Do you hear how the scalp claps? How the heart contains the earth, yet is also a hater? How saliva is lava, while testicles sit elect for their slice test . . . Peter Pereira is a family physician in Seattle, where he cares for an urban, underserved population of immigrants, refugees, housing project residents, and the elderly. His first book won the Hayden Carruth Award, and his individual poems have appeared in a wide range of publications, includingPoetry,USA Weekend, andThe Journal of the American Medical Association.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member thom001
In the tradition of medical-doctors-cum-poets like William Carlos Williams, physician Peter Pereira celebrates language in What's Written on the Body, his third published volume of poetry. Language in fact is one of the major themes that pervade the book, with a whole series of poems based upon such linguistic play as anagrams and synonyms. Such poetry, while clever, ultimately fails to satisfy once the reader's admiration for Pereira's admittedly impressive facility with wordplay wears off. Fortunately, however, the language-based poetry represents only a fraction of what the poet can do. Other works in the slim volume deal with his medical practice; nature; his relationships with his father, his partner, and other family members; and, occasionally, the intersection of his sexuality as a gay man and his profession as a medical doctor. My particular favorites are "Damn Fag," "Missing e," and "October Journal," three poems which display the range of the author's talent. Peter Pereira's What's Written on the Body is an enjoyable collection for readers who like contemporary American poetry.… (more)


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