No Matter

No Matter

by Jana Prikryl


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An urgent, visionary collection of poems from the author of The After Party
“One of the most original voices of her generation.”—James Wood

Jana Prikryl’s No Matter guides the reader through cities—remembered and imagined—toppling past the point of decline and fall. Conjured by voices alternately ardent, caustic, grieving, but always watchful, these soliloquies move from free verse through sonnets and invented forms, insisting that every demolition builds something new and unforeseen. In reactionary times, these poems say, we each have a responsibility to use our imagination.
No Matter is an elegy for our ongoing moment, when what seemed permanent suddenly appears to be on the brink of disappearing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984825117
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/23/2019
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 643,410
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Jana Prikryl is the author of No Matter and The After Party, which was one of The New York Times's Best Poetry Books of the Year. Her poems have appeared in The New YorkerThe London Review of BooksThe Paris Review, and The New York Review of Books, where she is a senior editor and the poetry editor.

Read an Excerpt


off a stop early but no harm.

A pleasant walk. This is a different place.

Lady at the counter doesn’t know it either,

no use asking.

Lucky you turned when you did

and saw the ceiling of the Brooklyn Bridge

not ten feet above. Never noticed

the whole thing’s umber, made of brownstone.

How same this town is, same as itself, unyielding.

It gives you time, almost, to make

observations such as this, it draws them out

like the East River pretending

to be a river when it’s merely an appetite.

I’ll take it from here, you think, I know the way.

Just barely convincing.

Then you saw St. Peter’s down below, confirming

this is Dumbo

and thought yes, finally they’ve made it right

with Malta: set forth on the long downward path

of sandy steps a touch too long and shallow

for human locomotion faster than deep reluctance

southwest, Spanish gravel, attractive, toward the church,

when houses on the way start exploding.


Her hair is parted in the center and this side

wall of the house ends just above her part.

The seam between the house and not-­house

seems to rise out of the part in her hair.

Dandelions on the lawn are playing

sundials, their globes give out the time

of year. She’s not smiling so much

as grimacing against the pull of the brush

and squinting against the sun. Nowhere are

her feet more than tacit. She is the tallest one.


on the Hudson just a few inches

above the crown of my head, it’s fall but the leaves

as green as the afternoons humid,

they fall from the trees a halfhearted yellow,

unswayed by the unforthcoming change.

How you crossed that island I don’t know,

one of the blasts must have nudged you.

The Hudson is a river though, with genuine water

going one way most of the time, a true expression.

Not much else here, of the city I knew.

The doggerel place, a place you pray

to be delivered from through

not too much exertion of your own.

I designate the gondola

to Hog Island my second home,

may I get carried away in perpetuity.

Deliver me as down along a zip line—

these piles, these ornate cornices

best seen if not in enlargements of scenes

of Myrna Loy’s xmas eve between

martinis then through the blinds

of function rooms where hopefuls in colorless

uniforms circulate edible miniatures—

even if the view going down differs

from the view going up.

The city welcomes you.

The cathedral perhaps, its smoking dome

still visible over the charred fastnesses

of Village and East Village,

still visible when I turn.

And here we reach the shores of speculation.

Table of Contents

Got 13

Anonymous 14

Waves 15

Real 16

Waves 17

Anonymous 19

Fit 20

Sibyl 22

Friend 24

Ambitious 25

Greenpoint 27

Stoic 28

Waves 29

Asylum 30

Anonymous 32

Vertical 33

Snapshot 35

Sibyl 36

Friend 37

Insta 38

Bowie 39

Salon 41

Fulcrum 42

Stoic 43

Bender 44

Anonymous 46

Shades 47

Waves 48

Candidate 49

Murder 50

2016 51

Sibyl 54

Prepper 55

Waves 57

Bräunerhof 58

Manhattan 60

Jeté 61

On 62

Santo Stefano Rotondo 63

Stoic 65

Friend 66

Anonymous 68

Inwood 69

Lady 72

Garden 73

Waves 74

Bob 75

Winter 78

Epic 79

Heights 80

Fox 81

Person 83

Friend 84

Anonymous 86

Sibyl 87

Snapshot 89

Coriolanus 90

Vertical 92

Stoic 93

Optimism 94

Anonymous 95

Sibyl 96

Dip 98

Binocular 99

Friend 101

Sibyl 102

Waves 103

Acknowledgments 105

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