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American Linden Paperback – November 1, 2002
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Matthew Zapruder, editor-in-chief at Verse Press, makes his own verse debut with American Linden, sure to receive cognoscenti attention, especially in Verse's home bases (New England and New York). Zapruder's hip lyricism offers both the slippery comedy and a surprisingly grave, ultimately winning, commitment to real people, emotions, locales: "My lack of compassion astounds me," Zapruder explains, "and must not come to know itself"; another poem ends as the poet himself is admonished, "`Come back when you have something/ less riveting to say.'"
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Matthew Zapruder, editor-in-chief at Verse Press, makes his own verse debut with American Linden, sure to receive cognoscenti attention, especially in Verse's home bases (New England and New York). Zapruder's hip lyricism offers both the slippery comedy and a surprisingly grave, ultimately winning, commitment to real people, emotions, locales: ""My lack of compassion astounds me,"" Zapruder explains, ""and must not come to know itself""; another poem ends as the poet himself is admonished, ""`Come back when you have something/ less riveting to say."" Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --Publishers Weekly
...severe, steady, surprising... a book that takes my mind and gives it a good shakingever so gently"" -- Dara Wier
""Matthew Zapruder is a dangerous poet..."" -- Dean Young
""Often whimsical, always lyric, this poetry is ceaselessly travelling; I was glad to be taken along on its journeys."" -- D. A. Powell --Review
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It is ludicrous to write about poetry....this poet distills beyond essence ideas that only tap at our imagination. "I try to be a good hillside/my eyesight salty and clear,/and hold still all night. /..../ All the next hours will be empty shelves./ Until I'm a storm,/ and only a flower knows me." I suppose one has to say something in a review: Read these please.
One of the drawbacks of having rooms full of books waiting for you to read them (and it's even worse if you have a library card and wide-ranging tastes) is that once in a while you hear good things about a book right after it comes out, put it on the list of "hmm, I should read that some day," and then promptly forget about it for three years. This is exactly what happened to me with Figments guitarist Matthew Zapruder's American Linden, and I'm kicking myself for not having just gone out and found a copy as soon as I heard good press about it.
Zapruder's work is the kind of stuff you read simply for the pleasure of hearing the words flow by in your head.
"Where I inspect myself
for a black and white cat
who hides my sluggishness from inspectors.
His name is Joselito."
There is a great deal of depth and definition to Zapruder's word choices; so many of these poems work so well that it's extremely difficult to find fault with a single word. (One wonders how much of this was workshopped or criticized by outside sources; one suspects the answer is "none of it.") It's work that says its piece and gets out, though you'll likely be left pondering what, exactly, that piece might be.
In an age where it seems anyone with a connection to other media are pumping out books of poetry to no end (viz. recent howlingly bad collections by Jimmy Stewart, Jimmy Carter, Jewel, Ally Sheedy, etc. etc. ad nauseam), it's nice to find someone who can work this well in both genres. Highly recommended. **** ½