Come On All You Ghosts
(96 pages/Copper Canyon Press 2010)
Matthew Zapruder’s third collection of poetry, Come On All You Ghosts, fully engages humor, whimsy, and inventiveness in a game of chicken with the existential absurdity of trying to capture or fathom human emotion. These poems are like little viral infections of hope and expansiveness, doing work on the psyche akin to being taken out for mystical cocktails, shaken up inside a snow globe, and then left beside a backwoods road with only a dim recollection of how you got there, but a lingering sense that you had a really good time, and that you might never be the same.
It’s all here: depth, invention, the unexpected, the spinning of another version of this world, into which the reader is willingly abducted. Zapruder’s pursuit of insight is both acute and sprightly, turning away just before head-on collisions with meaning and pathos so we can turn and rubberneck as they go by. The fun is always leveraged by an underlying honesty that acknowledges the tension between the ludicrous, resilient life of the imagination and it’s effort to cope with the banal, the ironic, and the tragic.
Come on All You Ghosts is a kind of supernatural sci-fi melee set in real life, where alchemical language and expanding possibilities fling kernels of truth in all dimensions, and the robots don’t stand a chance:
Come to the edge
the edge beckoned softly. Take
this cup full of darkness and stay as long
as you want and maybe a little longer.
Come On All You Ghosts was the 2010 Northern California Independent Booksellers Association poetry book of the year.