Praise for ELIXIR
“In Janine Certo’s Elixir, the vivacity of the sensuous world serves also as a constant memento mori ; like the Renaissance vanitas still lifes, such worldly pleasures shuttle us from the material to the spiritual. These are poems of luxury and joy-fried artichokes and art galleries. Limoncello and La bohème. But Certo is too smart for such comforts to exist unexamined. For glinting from the underbelly of ease is its constant endangerment. Death lurks behind each poem, so that the same mind that gives us hand-dipped ricotta reveals to us, as well, tender portraits of a father’s agonizing decline.’I believe in new edges,’ Certo writes. And it’s true-there are constant transformations at work throughout Elixir. On the one hand, beauty masks decay: ‘Write until the sage & fir candle kills the smell / of the wall’s rotting mouse.’ On the other, though, is the more difficult, the wiser, conversion: ‘The vacuum’s defective, so it sings.’ Thankfully, Certo has recorded for us such stunning songs.”
— COREY VAN LANDINGHAM
author of Antidote and Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens
“Janine Certo is a poet of grief and joy who searches inward and outward to find the transcendent meaning of ‘house and universe.’ Hers is a rare achievement: a philosopher’s intelligence at work in poems of the domestic and natural worlds. In the deeply moving pantoum ‘Elixir for My Father,’ she weaves together her book’s motifs: Italian American roots and family, love, life, and loss. Like idiosyncratic objects on a home altar, these poems are offerings of longing and hope. Through odes and elegies, her keen powers of observation and elegant language shine. Always, she holds onto beauty: ‘… this sweet/bright life full of heartbeat/ & memory.’ ”
— MARIA TERRONE
author of Eye to Eye and A Secret Room in Fall
Janine Puntureri Certo is the author of four award-winning poetry books, three full-length poetry collections: O Body of Bliss, winner of the Longleaf Press Book Contest in Poetry (Longleaf Press, 2023), Elixir, winner of both the New American Poetry Prize and the Lauria/Frasca Poetry Prize (New American Press and Bordighera Press, 2021), and In the Corner of the Living, runner-up for the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award (2017); as well as the poetry chapbook, Home Altar, winner of the Keystone Chapbook Prize (forthcoming, 2022, Seven Kitchens Press). She is also author of a book of poetry scholarship, Children Writing Poems: Poetic Voices in and out of School (Routledge, 2018). A winner of Nimrod International Journal’s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, her poems appear in The Cincinnati Review, New Ohio Review, Poetry Northwest, Shenandoah, Vallum, and others. She is an associate professor at Michigan State University and assistant poetry editor at Italian Americana.