Magazine July 30, 2012, Issue

Love Poetry

From the cover of Pity the Beautiful (Graywolf)
Pity the Beautiful: Poems, by Dana Gioia (Graywolf, 68 pp., $15)

Angels — at least according to Hollywood — are handsome, shining, and strong. But the angel in Dana Gioia’s new book of poems looks like he’s been in a fight and lost.

His wing is broken; he’s missing an eye; his hair is uncombed, his robe streaked with dirt. He doesn’t even have a halo. Yet he’s featured on the cover of Gioia’s fourth book of poetry, Pity the Beautiful. And he (or someone very much like him) seems to be given a voice in some of the poems here.

In one, “The Angel with the Broken Wing,” for instance, he mourns

Diane Scharper teaches memoir and poetry for Johns Hopkins University’s Osher Program. She is the author or editor of seven books, including Reading Lips and Other Ways to Overcome a Disability.

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