An urgent, visionary collection of poems from the author of The After Party
“One of the most original voices of her generation.”—James Wood
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST POETRY BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES AND THE PARIS REVIEW
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.
|Publisher:||Crown Publishing Group|
|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 Yorker, The London Review of Books, The 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
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