Other Sellers on Amazon
Come on All You Ghosts Paperback – August 31, 2010
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Publisher : Copper Canyon Press; 1St Edition (August 31, 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 96 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1556593228
- ISBN-13 : 978-1556593222
- Item Weight : 7 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.9 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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
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. "Erstwhile Harbinger Auspices", "Burma", and "Little Voice", eg, are all serious about capturing the near-non-feeling of disconnection from self, of the loss of anchor (cultural, familial) in a shared past, and of a sense of pervasive loneliness and isolation despite being surrounded by people people people. Take an excerpt from "Erstwhile Harbinger Auspices", the opening poem, as an example:
was thus a huge announcement.
Today it's completely
transparent, a vase. Inside it
flowers flower. Thus
a little death scent. I have
no master but always wonder,
what is making my master sad?
Maybe I do not know him.
A number of poems here seem to be engaged in clarifying a wide variety of ways the self cannot be gone *into*. "Burma" is in couplets (mostly), and like the Tu Fu poem, works its way through disappointments or failings of the self via elements in opposition.
In any case, when I re-read the poems noted above, I found myself wondering about what initially seemed to be the pleasant tone of the poems in this collection. I'm starting to wonder if this book is actually about working into a quietly revealed terror at being able to feel so little, despite there being so much to lose in life (e.g., beauty, love, a sense of wonder and connection in general...).
Maybe the real tone of the book is not sentimentality at all, but rather a kind of hopeless--or worse, false--pleasantness in the face of relentless ironies:
Clearly life is a drag, by which I mean a net that keeps
pulling the most unsavory and useful boots we
either put on lamenting, or eat with the hooks of some
big idea gripping at the sides of our mouths, and yanking them
upward in a conceptual grimace.
(--from "Little Voice")
What I can't tell, here, is whether it's the world that's supposedly inherently tragic and brutal, or our fake attitude towards it. I'll be intrigued to see if in his next book, the author finds a rhetorical stance that allows for the possibility of a critique of the self and its put-on masks.
So I waited a year; and I'm so pleased that I returned, as Zapruder's title encourages me to.
First of all, how can anyone not like a book of poetry which contains pieces dedicated to JIM ZORN ("Poem For Jim Zorn"), White Castle, John McCain, and Neko Case (songstress in one of my favorite bands, The New Pornographers). So what one notices right away about Zapruder is his obvious comfort in post-modernity, most strikingly in his consideration of what can be text and what is worthy of versification.
But Zapruder's hipster charm and taste is NOT what makes this book REALLY enjoyable; he's a damn good poet characterized by an acrobatic skill with diction and the connotations of the words he chooses. In "Poem For Ferlinghetti" for instance, Zapruder writes, "I have tried/for a long time to be useful,/like everyone I am also/always balancing/on the small blade of not/letting other people down." And so later, in the same poem, Zapruder finds himself writing and (re?)discovers what it is that MAKES him useful to others, the way that every good poet is "of service" (as Ted Kooser sweetly phrased it): "I am/at my desk pushing/against one word feeling/its hinge creak like wind/would a gate".
Zapruder is great at the good old stuff too. In "Minnesota" he describes a "squirrel he recognizes," his "onyx nails/click on the frozen snow."
And then there's the acrobatics. In "Little Voice," he writes, "I can't take it any longer. Im going to stop shaving/my teeth and chew my face. I'm going to finish inventing/ that way to turn my blood into thread and knit/a sweater the shape of a giant machete and chop/my head right off."
I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Zapruder is also VERY funny and one comes to find his obsessions endearing: the promise of innocence supposedly to be found in midwestern cities, and his seemingly uncontrollable and unpredictable reaction to Neil Young's music to name just two.
In any case, all of his skills are on display. I mentioned earlier the book being uneven. I found section II to be far stronger than the other two in the book, which was sort of a let down. Of course, the collection finishes with Zapruder's BEST poem, the one which gives the collection its name, and I couldn't help but want to turn right back to the beginning and start it over again after reading it.