John L. Stanizzi

Connecticut teacher, author, and poet


Poetry. A memoir in sonnets.

“This is what history sounds like, a song that takes over us until we join the chants and become part of history. Thanks to John L. Stanizzi for showing us another path of walking into today.”–Romeo Oriogun

“These loose sonnets with the punning title–CHANTS–push us in various directions: towards the past, towards the present, even towards the immensely problematical future. It’s the story of a Catholic boy grown into a compassionate, intelligent man looking at the world as it has configured itself in his lifetime: all the changes. The difference from a newspaper account is that Stanizzi is an observer with music on his mind: ’cause / to breathe in cleanly in the thrall of rain.’ These poems sing–CHANTS–about the life he has lived out of all the lives he might have lived: ‘chance.’ It is a poetry of witness dealing with death, life, childhood and growth. But it also allows us to experience sudden miracles of flight: ‘I am inspired / to pick him [a goldfinch] up–and he lets me!–his eyes / unsure and trusting in a lightning flash, / and then he flies, my upturned palm in rain.'”–Jack Foley

“These inspiriting poems amplify and celebrate life. They find the deepest reaches of the human heart with a passion that will cause readers to pause and read again. From the beauty of goldfinches to the horrors of war and the joys and tribulations of family life, John Stanizzi discovers the universal in the personal. He turns words into instruments that pierce the soul.”–David K. Leff


It’s not that Joe Pye means to deceive us;
he is sweet after all with his erect,
purple attitude against a stanchion
of  jewelweed, and looming well above the
panicled and delicate white daisies
huddling against the first chill-days of late
September under the clarity of
a 9/11 sky. Foolish to call
him a dupe for standing tall against what
he knows; Jopi will break up your fever,
ease the hack of typhus, or toss the stones
of kidneys into imagination.
We’re busy splitting wood while Joe Pye stands
firm, neck stiffened against the coming freeze.

-Published in Bird’s Thumb, February, 2018


We walked through some heartache in ’62.
Gary liked Teresa but Teresa
asked Elizabeth to tell Peter that
she really wanted to go out with him
but Peter had been making out with Jane
in the theater, celebrating their
one month anniversary, so that was
out, and even though Jane broke up with Pete,
Peter kept asking Gail to talk with Jane
which Gail wouldn’t do because she’d told
Brenda that she thought that Peter was cute
but Brenda wasn’t listening to a word,
wrapped up in lonely teardrops shed for Greg.
The waters of 8th grade were never still.
-Published in American Life In Poetry – Column 623

Paperback – February 28, 2019