instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


The Mercer Stands Burning

Night Poems by John Pietaro

(Atmosphere Press)


With The Mercer Stands Burning John Pietaro embarks on a foray of verse, one threading standard poetic forms through the revolutionary and the narrative. These works are as drenched in New York's radical core and colorful history as its post-punk, free jazz and spoken word soundscape.


John Pietaro is a writer, poet, musician and cultural organizer from Brooklyn NY. A denizen of downtown's underground, he has been known to thrive in the dark. These are Night Poems. 



"The Mercer Stands Burning, the groundbreaking collection of poems by John Pietaro, is "for New York", as he says in the dedication. These amazing poems are influenced by Jazz and the Beats – Miles and Coltrane, and the late Steve Dalachinsky, but Melville is very much alive in these pages, too." -Ron Kolm


"I don't know if John Pietaro set out to create one long love poem to the muse, to the poets, writers, and musicians, to New York City, its dark streets and long nights, but it turns out to be just what we need in these uncertain times.  In this writer's opinion, he has assembled his best work to date." -Puma Perl


"John Pietaro's words are soul cries and observations from a Real Human longing for light, like the moan of a saxophone in the NYC pandemic isolation night!" -Billy Lamont


"A tireless fighter and organizer on the cultural front, John Pietaro now shows up with a timely volume of tightly crafted, silvery sinewed poems." -Raymond Nat Turner


 Published by Atmosphere Press  

122 pp

Available November 30, 2020


For more information on author John Pietaro visit  

Press inquiries:  New Masses Media

"Smoke Rings", poetry chapbook. published October 2019: 

Poetry for the after-hours, later than the night. With "Smoke Rings", John Pietaro, a writer whose work is impassioned with the literature of rebellion, the heritage of noir and the urbanity downtown, presents his debut chapbook, a terse, dark and sometimes satirical homage to New York at night. Dismissing the elitist venues and developers which have ghettoized artists over generations, "Smoke Rings" encompasses the edge of the tapestry, the free jazz, punk culture, modernist verse, bold performance and radical politics that cast the vision. Plainly put, here's a collection of works from just beneath the underground.


CONTENTS: Haze/5:03AM (for Steve Dalachinsky)/Discreet Foundlings of Quiet Places (for the Velvet Underground)/Blue/Dancing to Incessant June (for Bern Nix)/The People of Night/Impressions (for John Coltrane)/Langston/Sonic Incursion/Robert Quine on the Rocks/The Lonely/Conjured and Cast (for Kenneth Fearing)/Burroughs Inferno and more

Night People & Other Tales of Working New York

A collection unashamed to be called 'contemporary proletarian literature'. The energy and emotions within these stories are of the people, the workers who make the City run. But this book's scope also reaches into the asphalt itself and the mountains above--heralding the heartbeat of the land mass beneath us, acting as both oracle and protagonist. It brings to life the people who provide the soundtrack, the color, the breadth: those who thrive and those who perish in New York's wake. Here is a love song to reality, mourning the anguish and championing the everyday. Preface is by historian Paul Buhle.