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Come on All You Ghosts Paperback – August 31, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press; 1St Edition edition (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556593228
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556593222
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Zapruder's third collection of hip, quirkily haunting yet surprisingly earnest poems is his best and most beautiful. He spans the major genres--love poetry ("I admire/ and fear you, to me you are an abyss/ I cross towards you"), elegy ("I have been coasting,/ but from this forward Grace I vow/ I shall coast no more"), ode ("my friends ordered square burgers/ with mysterious holes leaking a delicious substance"), friendship tribute ("Dobby lives/ in Minnesota and seems basically happy"), to name a few--updating them for the 21st century. He even proves himself to be a charming nature poet: of a fox he says, "it held a grasshopper in its mouth,/ which it dropped when it saw the small carcass of a young javelina." These poems are still full of quick jump-cuts, seeming tangents, and almost adorable imagery, but all more focused on subject matter. In the spooky but also companionable titular long poem that closes the volume, Zapruder communes with an array of unseen presences, from the reader to the shades of his family and influences: "Come with me/ and I will show you/ terrible marvels.// The little cough I heard in my mind/ was one I remembered/ my father made just as he died."
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Zapruder’s poems are ordered by dream logic that melds the familiar with the mysterious. Yet as brain-teasing as his wonderfully strange yet exactly right imagery is, the formal elements of his poems are so liquid and magnetizing as to be invisible. A poet of both respect and resistance, Zapruder has a penchant for disarming opening lines, such as, “I hate the phrase ‘inner life,’” or, “I like the word pocket.” The latter launches a poem in which contemplation of a pocket—how peculiar and gravid the word becomes with repetition—leads to a vision of a wrecked airplane at the bottom of the sea. Zapruder writes with compassion and bafflement about loneliness and the broadcasting of war and other catastrophes, and he remembers his dead with candor and tenderness. Zapruder also ponders the unnerving juxtapositions of our world of earbuds, “sad crushed plastic,” and giant particle colliders. Of abundance and impoverishment, relentless connectivity and isolation in plain sight. “I am never / at ease.” “I feel like a mountain of cell phone chargers.” “I examine my feelings without feeling anything.” And yet these are deeply felt, exciting, and caring poems, droll and wistful, obliquely affirming, phosphorescently beautiful. --Donna Seaman

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By DabblerArts on July 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is not an unpleasant reading experience, and Zapruder himself gives every impression of being the nicest, most sociable guy on earth - so really we should be thankful that poets aren't the formidable breed they used to be. The poetry is likewise incredibly friendly and chatty. Most of the poems can be summarized like this: I did something, random fact X, I did something else, random fact Y, I don't know what I think or feel, but I definitely think and feel something. The result is poetry that's less images and ideas (as images are deliberately farfetched, and ideas unclear) than a kind of verbal texture, a kind of music if you will - difficult to quote (but not to understand the point).

There are no outstanding poems here. This is the start of a poem called "Never to Return":

Today a ladybug flew through my window. I was reading
about the snowy plumage of the Willow Ptarmigan
And the song of the Nasshville Warbler. I was reading
the history of weather, how they agreed at last
to disagree on cloud categories. I was reading a chronicle
of the boredom that called itself The Great Loneliness
and caused a war...

Repetitive stuff, but don't think too hard and a pleasant oblivion takes effect. It goes on for a while like this, then near the bottom of the page the poem ends:

I know less than I did before, and I live on a hill where
the wind steals music from everything and bring it to me.

Even more interesting passages resist much independent meaning. Here's the end of a poem called "Travelers Among Mountains and Streams," a bit of Japonaiserie:

Between my ears is drifting now
the strange translucent golden word
axolotl. Through its whole life it never
grows any older.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Myers on May 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had a very similar initial reaction as the reviewer who found the book pleasant in tone, but overall too light, too inconsequential-seeming. Despite wanting to like the book, and despite finding the speaker very charming, my first thought was that it all sounded like recycled Ashbery-air ("Hello everyone, hello you. Here we are under this sky"--"Aglow").

Except for the Tu Fu poem--that one stood out to me from the beginning. The images are clear and engaging, but pass quickly and via unexpected contrasts. The lines are also shorter, yet spaced-out. The overall effect is that vivid and delightful impressions are pushed at and *past* me faster than I want them to move, which creates emotional tension--I find myself latching onto the pleasure of the moment offered in one image and a handful of brief lines, only to suffer their loss in the next sentence--and rapidly:

After Reading Tu Fu, I Emerge From a Cloud of Falseness

wearing a suit of light.

It's too easy to be

strange. I glow

reading a few pages

of an ancient Chinese poet

to calm me, but soon

I am traveling down

terrible roads

like an insect chased

by golden armies.

Then I am tired in a little boat

filling with smoke.

So, I think that poem reveals an elegance and sharpness in both its concerns and construction that belie its pleasant tone.

And on second read, I noticed less Ashbery-air threatening to hotbox the collection with hazy, flittery musings about nothing of consequence, and found more of a running counter-story to lightness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tessa Rivers on November 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Matt's poetry is absolutely amazing.

Having had the opportunity to work in a writing workshop on some of my poetry with him during a college course, I have grown even more fond of his work because I admire his way with words and similie and metaphor.

My favorite poem in here would have to be a tie between "Poem for John McCain" and the title poem.
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By Amazon Customer on February 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I picked this up after hearing Matthew speak at a writer's conference. He said the California Room in the cellar of the Mark Hopkins Hotel made him feel like he was in Liberace's garage because of the low ceilings and multiple chandeliers. I will forevermore think of the room as Liberace's garage and wouldn't be surprised if Liberace's ghost makes an appearance there. Boo. :)
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