Bird is the Word: The Iggy and Biggy Cycle
his glory drained.
playing a decaying Detroit movie hall.
Biblical parallels -
Lazarus before the rolled stone -
at the pointless circus.
Iggy, a ritual sacrifice.
Music still boiled to purity.
—from BIRD IS THE WORD 3: Iggy: Origins
Alex DiFrancesco, author of All City (Seven Stories Press) and Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press), is back with their first—and quite possibly only—poetry chapbook! The poems in Bird is the Word are odes to (Iggy) Pop Culture, rock’n’roll (as) religion, the sacred and the profane.
“How could someone do this?
She’s as big as my hand…
Birds like when you sing to them.”
Lonesome Sally trembles,
eyes wide against her mirror and bell.
Jesus found a penny.
Jesus got religion.
Jesus found a passage;
Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
—from BIRD IS THE WORD 7: Iggy and Biggy as Sarah and Lonesome Sally
Praise for Bird is the Word
Bird is the Word is the kind of collection that makes me leap with joy — not only as a fan of unique and untold music history, but also as a fan of exciting narrative and language. Alex DiFrancesco's dive into the relationship between Iggy Pop and his bird Biggy Pop is playful, smart, and sharply threaded. I am so thankful for the inventiveness of Alex DiFrancesco and how they bring this story to life through image, through repetition, and through inventive form. These poems are the kind I've been waiting for.
—Hanif Abdurraqib, author of Go Ahead in the Rain (University of Texas Press) and A Fortune For Your Disaster (Tin House)
Bird is the Word is perhaps the most sincere collection of love poems ever written; there is nothing else quite like it. It is at once introspective and playful; immersed in pop culture and rich with feeling. This groundbreaking collection will leave you to "Consider: / just how gentle one must be / to love something so small" as Iggy Pop loves his Cockatoo.
—Erin Emily Ann Vance, author of Advice for Taxidermists and Amateur Beekeepers (Stonehouse) and Unsuitable and Others (APEP Publications)
As offbeat and arresting as music icon Iggy Pop himself, Alex DiFrancesco’s tight new collection about the punker’s life and his relationship to his pet cockatoo will appeal to music fans, animal lovers, and of course, readers of contemporary poetry. The poems are eclectic in style, sometimes with deceptively simple rhythmic repetitions, as in “Biggy: Origins,” and others more demanding in content, such as “Iggy and Biggy as the Great White Bear and the Youngest Daughter,” influenced by Norwegian myth. Sparked creatively by a charming video of Pop in his dining room performing The Trashmen’s 1963 hit “Surfin’ Bird” to Biggy, the poet’s work is thoughtful as well as imaginative, metaphorical and sublime. When DiFrancesco indirectly describes Pop’s tenderness towards his bird (“Consider/ just how gentle one must be/ to love something so small.”), they might just as easily be describing their relationship to writing poetry. But then again, like Iggy Pop’s music, these poems are never quite about what they seem to be on the surface, inviting readers in with accessible language and images that nevertheless bring them somewhere new—an appropriate tribute to the singer of “The Passenger.”
—JC Reilly, author of forthcoming collection, What Magick May Not Alter