Four Bits is a clever collection of short pieces by a masterful poet and story-teller. In each of these fifty 50-word prose poems, John Stanizzi dazzles with his perception, humor, and story-telling. “Four Bits,” a colloquial term meaning fifty cents, is worth much more than spare change. Humor, pathos, and insight into the human condition radiate from the poems in this collection.
In John Stanizzi’s latest collection, Four Bits, each short piece provides a nugget of awareness, of clarity on several topics – family, nature, life in general. Though short, some of these poems demand deep thought and careful examination and more than one re-reading. It is worth the effort and brings rewards to the reader. To find such intensity and insight within a 2- or 3-line poem is a like discovering a lost treasure you were sure you’d never find again.
-Elizabeth Thomas — author of From the Front of the Classroom
John Stanizzi creates art with the brush of brevity. Each poem is a flash of memory–at times painting a humorous image, at other times reminding us of how our relatives and friends from the past have a way of quickly visiting us.
-Jose B. Gonzalez — author of Toys Made of Rocks, When Love Was Reels: Poetry
Four Bits is John L. Stanizzi’s newest full-length collection of fifty 50-word pieces in which he borrows the title from a U.S. colonial era colloquial expression referring to specific coins in various coinages. 1 bit is equal to one eighth of a dollar or 12½ cents therefore “four bits” is equal to fifty cents. The reader follows a male speaker as he challenges himself with the task of telling “bits” of his life using only 50 words! Memories such as being an altar boy and fainting during one Sunday mass to the joy of winning a scholastic poetry award that’s met with the violent disapproval of his fellow peers on the football team. Other pieces detail life’s mundane moments like complaining about an unrelenting five-day heat wave to listening to the subtleties of different birdsongs late at night and in the early morning. Each narrative showcases Stanizzi’s mastery of storytelling through carefully crafted imagery, humor, and the lessons one learns along the way. Four Bits is a clever, creative, and unique collection filled with mesmerizing surprises. An impressive poetic memoir in hybrid form!
-Sean Frederick Forbes — author of Providencia, a book of poems
endlessly the sun
-Published in Ovunque Siamo – Volume 4 – Issue 1
Water Meter Reader
In my 20s, I was a water meter reader. One day, when I was supposed to be reading meters, I was hiding in the library, reading Othello.
Summer flowed through the open window.
My brain got you all mixed up with Desdemona. I remember being blindsided by my own weeping.
-Published by Right Hand Pointing – Issue 142
November 13, 2018Paperback $15.00