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The Pajamaist

Overview

“Zapruder’s hip lyricism offers both the slippery comedy and a surprisingly grave, ultimately winning, commitment to real people, emotions, locales.”—Publishers Weekly

Matthew Zapruder is a young poet reinvigorating American letters. In his second collection he engages love, mortality, and life in New York City after 9/11. The title piece, a prose-poem synopsis of an unwritten novel, turns all literary forms upon themselves with savvy and ...

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The Pajamaist

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Overview

“Zapruder’s hip lyricism offers both the slippery comedy and a surprisingly grave, ultimately winning, commitment to real people, emotions, locales.”—Publishers Weekly

Matthew Zapruder is a young poet reinvigorating American letters. In his second collection he engages love, mortality, and life in New York City after 9/11. The title piece, a prose-poem synopsis of an unwritten novel, turns all literary forms upon themselves with savvy and flair, while the elegy cycle “Twenty Poems for Noelle” is a compassionate song for a suffering friend.

Noelle, somewhere in an apartment
symphony number two
listens to you breathing.
Broken glass in the street.
What was once unglowing glows. . .

The Pajamaist is an intimate book filled with sly wit and an ever-present, infectious openness to amazement. Zapruder’s poems are urbane and constantly, curiously searching.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Charming, melancholy, hip and at times hopeful, the 21 poems of Zapruder's second collection take on personal subjects and meditate on life in cities and towns, friendship, love and the nature of poetry itself. In surprising, often lengthy narratives, Zapruder (founding editor of Verse Press, now Wave Books, and author of American Linden, 2002) makes huge associative jumps, interjects playful imagery ("I love / baseball, it makes me angry / and hopeful for justice") and offers unlikely characterizations of places and ideas: "Go, Jerry, soon you will be / in Canada where / Neil Young was born." "There Is a Light" pays tribute to the venerable institution of the New York City bodega ("in silence you have been here / forever since 1993"), and the sequence "Twenty Poems for Noelle" attempts to console a grieving friend. The title poem, a several-page piece in prose, outlines an imaginary novel about a pajama-wearing man who takes other people's suffering on in their stead. "Water Street" recounts the experience of being the poet-in-residence at the home of the late Ouija board-wielding poet James Merrill. Most moving is a longish poem that portrays Zapruder's hometown of Brooklyn, with its "row of dented Sundays." (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
"It/ makes you good to spread your joy." In this his second volume of poems (after American Linden), Zapruder allows the reader into a private world, a place of humor, irony, some of it sardonic, a world of tenderness, in which he contemplates something as simple as the opening and closing of the door of the deli outside his window: "I could watch/ this shadow clock for hours and do o solemn untamed/ maternal albanian market why/ at this time of night are you open " Zapruder's narrators address serious subjects in long lyrics and the wistfully sad "Twenty Poems for Noelle," which consider the aftermath 9/11. The centerpiece, however, is "The Pajamaist," part dream, part novel synopsis where the narrator proposes that one could hire another to take on one's suffering: "No one had to suffer any/ longer, at least not for free!" To do so, "We only had to sleep in each other's pajamas." The narrator suggests that the first and greatest sufferer is the Pajamaist, a true professional who shields the "watcher" from further suffering by isolating himself. In other poems, Zapruder's innovative style is provocative in its unusual juxtapositions of line, image, and enjambments. A roller coaster of a read ("Ask yourself/ what would I do if I knew I could/ not fail"), this is highly recommended.-Karla Huston, Appleton Art Ctr., WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

What can you expect of a poet who's founder of Verve Press, lead guitarist for The Figments, and cocurator of the esteemed KGB reading series? Diverse and innovative poems that always shake up the reader, surprising and pleasing in equal measure. A breakout second volume. (LJ7/06)


—Barbara Hoffert
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556592447
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 90
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Zapruder was born in 1967 and holds degrees from Amherst, Berkeley, and University of Massachusetts. His debut volume of poetry, American Linden, received the Tupelo Press Editors' Prize. He is founder of Verse Press, lead guitarist for The Figments, and co-curator of the KGB Reading Series. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Dream job 3
Thank you for being you 5
First time, long time 6
The lark 8
There is a light 13
Canada 15
Haiku 17
Twenty poems for Noelle 23
The pajamaist 45
January 53
Tonight you'll be able 55
Water street 57
Cat radio 65
Lazy comet, hurry 68
Kill Van Kull 70
The book of oxygen 75
Brooklyn with a new beginning 81
More trees 90
What I need 93
Ancient sorrow sleep already 97
Andale mono 99
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