cover image Come On All You Ghosts

Come On All You Ghosts

Matthew Zapruder, Copper Canyon (Consortium, dist.), $16 (128p) ISBN 978-1-55659-322-2

Zapruder's third collection of hip, quirkily haunting yet surprisingly earnest poems is his best and most beautiful. He spans the major genres—love poetry ("I admire/ and fear you, to me you are an abyss/ I cross towards you"), elegy ("I have been coasting,/ but from this [moment] forward Grace I vow/ I shall coast no more"), ode ("my friends ordered square burgers/ with mysterious holes leaking a delicious substance"), friendship tribute ("Dobby lives/ in Minnesota and seems basically happy"), to name a few—updating them for the 21st century. He even proves himself to be a charming nature poet: of a fox he says, "it held a grasshopper in its mouth,/ which it dropped when it saw the small carcass of a young javelina." These poems are still full of quick jump-cuts, seeming tangents, and almost adorable imagery, but all more focused on subject matter. In the spooky but also companionable titular long poem that closes the volume, Zapruder communes with an array of unseen presences, from the reader to the shades of his family and influences: "Come with me/ and I will show you/ terrible marvels.// The little cough I heard in my mind/ was one I remembered/ my father made just as he died." (Sept.)