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our first
wrinkle in time
– irreversible gingerbread

softening in its thimbled broth
millimetres retuning
us to that

dim half
-hour we wrestled
slow & emphatic for the not yet

now – that bedside
way you pull off your skirt & thought

a powder
we have yet to give
water to or some aroma sweet &

shrill – transparent
smoke clung to ceilings
filoed by light that monthly

grows downwards
petalling flesh to palm
each fist or

swirl our muffling
movements in

each word

Mario Petrucci the waltz in my blood (2011)

Mario Petrucci is a true polymath, blending disciplines to exultant and exalting effect… Petrucci’s tulips promise to grow into a truly ambitious landmark body of work.
Poetry Book Society Bulletin

Petrucci is somebody working with a lively circum-spection in a tradition he’s demonstrating not to have been merely an early-to-mid-20th-century exploration.

Roy Fisher

Resounds with the poet’s characteristic layering of insight, his fascination with the fractured musical opportunities offered by the poetic line… his utter commitment and devotion to language.

Flarestack Poets

Anything by Petrucci is worth pausing for.

Times Literary Supplement


ISBN 978-1-906742-40-9


Michael Davidson, discussing George Oppen and the Objectivists, speaks of ‘language as participant in thought’. In the waltz in my blood we witness a language-led experiment as unprecedented as it is thought-provoking. Revisiting prior collections, Mario Petrucci runs his earlier poems through the mill of his current approach, using the ‘originals’ as metaphorical and linguistic grist. In effect, he rethinks the older sensibility by means of a younger language — one he has voiced energetically throughout his ongoing, evolutionary i tulips project. Presented side by side, some poem-pairs glide Astaire-and-Rogers-like across the dance floor, locked together cheek to cheek; others, however, do not care to avoid toes — in fact, seem more like sparring partners.

The second part of the book moves boldly into ‘rewrites’ of other poets, with Petrucci inviting those authors to participate in his enterprise by suggesting fresh directions in diction, imagery and style. the waltz in my blood is undoubtedly a major tributary within the vast delta of Petrucci’s i tulips sequence; but it also provides a fascinating insight into the richly complex creativity informing this vital, vibrantly contemporary dialogue between British and American modernist poetics.


Mario Petrucci is an acclaimed
poet, freelance educator and
innovator, physicist, ecologist,
Royal Literary Fund Fellow and
residency frontiersman, the only
poet to have held residencies at the Imperial War Museum and with BBC Radio 3. ‘Reminiscent of e.e. cummings at his best’ (Envoi), Petrucci aspires to ‘poetry on a geological scale’ (Verse).

Four times winner of the London Writers competition, his numerous awards include the Daily Telegraph/ Arvon Prize, the Bridport Prize and a PBS Recommendation. Petrucci is
continually active across art forms and disciplines, connecting poetry with film, economics, ecology and science.

He has contributed to such outlets as The Spectator, The
Independent, Acumen, Poetry Wales, Poetry London, Stand, The London Magazine, Poetry Review, BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service.

the waltz in my blood is taken from his monumental Anglo-American sequence of ‘modernist marvels’ (Poetry Book Society) entitled  i tulips and now on target to reach 1111 poems.


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