The Dawn of Nothing Important by David Giannini


Each of the eight sections of David Giannini’s The Dawn of Nothing Important contains mostly short poems and prosepoems embodying aspects of Time and Duration anchored in the physical, and most often the natural, world. The book is, in its way, time-obsessed, sometimes with poems of death and comedy mixing together, and always with wonder. Some of the poems have a curious irreality about them, along with spiritual and metaphysical components. They tend to ‘sing’ as the poems unfold or seem to grow organically on the pages, creating an overall envisioning of people and things in, and even beyond, Time. As Giannini says in these lines from one of the last poems in the book:

“I establish myself through failure every poem
 in its meaning shatters against the stars.”


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 172
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: January, 2022
  • ISBN: 978-1-953252-44-9


Poetry, according to David Giannini, provides “its infinite number / of doors.” Poem by poem in The Dawn of Nothing Important, we pass through many such doors, each opening into a room where a poem happens around us—a measured, intoxicating music and waves of colored lights. Whether he’s imagining a god of air, or pondering the implications of a flowchart, or asking himself (and us) what it really means to see, Giannini pressurizes language in ways that yield new forms and fresh intensities on every page. But to what end? “The things of people are invisible parts of those people made visible,” he writes in “Travel in My Hands.” This credo is key to the way he interweaves sensual and intellectual, physical and spiritual, solitude and sociability, giving his book a complexity reminiscent of Stevens but grounded in a way that Stevens wasn’t. The Dawn of Nothing Important is a book of challenging pleasures—which are, of course, the very best kind. —Joseph Hutchison 

David Giannini is a poet of wonder, the kind of wonder that stems from deep attentiveness and a curious mind in love with the weight and lightness of words. The poems in The Dawn of Nothing Important show us how things are rarely what they appear to be, and yet precisely what they are. Through Giannini’s discerning eyes and finely tuned ear, we see that the shadow of a bear “is not itself an animal crossing grass….any more than grass is a shadow on the earth.” And of his work, we learn that “some poems get worked out on the spine/of a freshly stacked cord” and that “truth is not for hire.” There’s a mischievous twinkle in this poet’s eye, which, balanced with an inward-gazing seriousness, reminds us what it means to be human is to forever tangle with and contain both life’s sorrows and joys. —Patty Crane

Reading David Giannini’s The Dawn of Nothing Important  is a hike through sometimes stunning surroundings, sometimes the overlooked commonplace, where your guide, Mr. Giannini, pauses frequently and tilts his head, curious about what is seen, or unseen.  Curiosity for him is a kind of loving care, for what is often overlooked, or is seen but not freshly.  Curiosity for him is a kind of oral and aural tasting, a wine-tasting of sorts (“or is it ‘whine tasting,’” as Mr. Giannini might say, unafraid as he is of playfulness).  So in one poem we have “shaded trunks / spalted by wet summer,” and in another we get “withes and branches / slapping against walls.”  The poems often seem to grow organically on the page, surprising us with an abundance of living forms, and his attention–again, care–peers on us now, especially in this epoch of contagion and risk.  His curiosity, care, art, and skill are at the service of life and living, implying that even nothing important dawns. —Dennis Finnell



Those four glistening sweat-bees (each just 0.12 to 0.40 inches long) found living under an eyelid of the Taiwanese woman, Ms. He, their hooves and their feeding at her left tear duct causing torture/torture until the bees were surgically removed; and the woman could then see through her tears

the bodies of her enemies

in a metal tray, her eyelid apiary

no longer afflicted

by lachrymal trespass. What else

might she have had taken away

inside her, or kept? What lingering

stinging trauma from that cluster

of creatures that saw

light only between her blinks,

that sipped without knowing more

of the upright universe they walked

as ancients to the salt.


David GianniniDavid Giannini’s most recent full-length collections of poetry include In a Moment We May Be Strangely Blended; Mahap; The Future Only Rattles When You Pick It Up (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award;) and Faces Somewhere Wild, (all published by Dos Madres Press 2017-19;) and Porous Borders (prosepoems published by Spuyten Duyvil Press in 2017.) He received Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Awards; The Osa and Lee Mays Award For Poetry; an award for prosepoetry from the University of Florida; a Finalist Award from the Naugatuck Review, and a Finalist Award for the James Hearst Poetry Prize of The North American Poetry Review in 2021. He also published three chapbooks during the first year of Covid: Viral Packet (Covid-related poems;) Semblance Vagrant (prosepoems;) and 10 Chapters from the Dawn, each published by New Feral Press in 2020-21. He has been a gravedigger; beekeeper; taught at Williams College, The University of Massachusetts, and Berkshire Community College, and he taught preschoolers and high school students, among others. Giannini was the Lead Rehabilitation Counselor for Compass Center, which he co-founded as the first rehabilitation clubhouse for severely and chronically mentally ill adults in the northwest corner of Connecticut.

Additional information

Weight 11.1 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .5 in