The Mercer Stands Burning, the groundbreaking collection of poems by John Pietaro, is "for New York", as he says in the dedication. These amazing poems are influenced by Jazz and the Beats - Miles and Coltrane, and the late Steve Dalachinsky as well, for whom he dedicates the poem "5:03 AM". But Melville is very much alive in these pages, too. Check out the poem "Max of 10th Avenue". Pietaro ends with "The Continuum", and The Mercer Stands Burning is absolutely central to the continuation of great art. Highly recommended!
- Ron Kolm, poet, founding member of underground collective the Unbearables, contributing editor of Sensitive Skin magazine. His latest poetry book is Swimming in the Shallow End.
"I don't know if John Pietaro set out to create one long love poem to the muse, to the poets, writers, and musicians, to New York City, its dark streets and long nights, but it turns out to be just what we need in these uncertain times. In this writer's opinion, he has assembled his best work to date; the poems reflect our collective navigation through these last years rather than the headlines. I, for one, can still hear the sound of the Mercer falling.
- Puma Perl, rock-n-roll poet of the Lower East Side, resident poet of Chelsea Community News, she leads the band Puma Perl & Friends and curates quarterly Pandemoniums at Bowery Electric. Puma's latest is Birthdays Before and After.