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Come on All You Ghosts

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  893 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
Matthew Zapruder's third book mixes humor and invention with love and loss, as when the breath of a lover is compared to "a field of titanium gravestones / growing warmer in the sun." The title poem is an elegy for the heroes and mentors in the poet's life—from David Foster Wallace to the poet's father. Zapruder's poems are direct and surprising, and throughout the book he ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Copper Canyon Press
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Nov 22, 2010 Michael rated it it was amazing
from Come on All You Ghosts by Matthew Zapruder:

Global Warming

In old black and white documentaries
sometimes you can see
the young at a concert or demonstration
staring in a certain way as if
a giant golden banjo
is somewhere sparkling
just too far off to hear.
They really didn't know there was a camera.
Cross legged on the lawn
they are patiently listening to speeches
or the folk singer hunched
over his little brown guitar.
They look as tired as the young today.
The calm manner in which their eyes
just like
John Pappas
Jul 27, 2011 John Pappas rated it liked it
I'm so torn about this collection. Zapruder reads like a hip John Ashbery with heart, but the same things that often frustrate me about Ashbery frustrate me about Zapruder -- a near fetishistic need to jarringly juxtapose high and low diction, switch registers and voices seemingly on a whim, and a deliberate attempt to obfuscate, sacrificing heart and clarity for a more formal representation of what it means to be alive in post-modern America. Whereas Ashbery uses erudite allusions to French lit ...more
Aug 13, 2016 Jsavett1 rated it really liked it
I wasn't able to get through this collection on my first or second attempts. And though, ultimately I believe that Zapruder's IS a bit uneven, I locate the origin of my early difficulties with the book within my own poetic predilections (the geography of which are constantly expanding to include more and more styles and habits), and honestly, to a sense of professional competition and envy. Let me be clear: I don't KNOW Matthew Zapruder; but I picked up his book on the strong recommendation of a ...more
Oct 22, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, poetry
Still rereading and still loving this collection. It's discursive (some would say disjointed) and prosy and at times breaks my friend's rule that poetry should only do those things which only poetry can do, but I can forgive nearly anything when he does this:

Clearly life is a drag, by which I mean a net that keeps
pulling the most unsavory and useful boots we
either put on lamenting, or eat with the hooks of some
big idea gripping the sides of our mouths and yanking them
upwards in a conceptual gri
Alexis Pope
Oct 25, 2012 Alexis Pope rated it it was amazing

Oh, man. I needed these poems. I'm actually in the process of reading this right now, but I've been feeling so stationary in my writing. Basically, stationary in my living as well. Zapruder is gently shoving all this sadness and truth in my face. I want to tell him thank you.
Dec 22, 2014 Philip rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, owned
Zapruder is quickly becoming a favorite and an (re)entry point for something I lost along the way. His poems are narrative for me and I find resonance in resemblance.
Oct 02, 2013 Diya rated it liked it
(woof, this is awful and disjointed, but whatever. Here are some thoughts I apparently wrote down at some point.)

On first reading, Matthew Zapruder’s Come On All You Ghosts is an impressive collection of poems that form a cohesive narrative of isolation and gradual insight into a seemingly inexplicable world. On second reading, however, the poems lose their charm. Characteristics that impress on first reading become trite on the second pass, and the lasting impression is of a poet trying too har
Jul 21, 2016 Julie rated it liked it
A fun collection. I liked the themes of technology, science and death. I also liked the direct address of the title poem and the way he described the poem as a machine that anyone with a mind who cared could enter. My favorite poems were "Burma" and "Little Voice." I also liked the line "I will fall in love exactly about a million times and then I will die" (from "You Have Astounding Cosmic News"). I loved the stanza below from "Work:"

"...I only feel
free when I am working, that is writing
this bo
Mar 03, 2011 Jesse rated it really liked it
Reading this book was like borrowing the brain of someone who thinks in the exact opposite way that I do (not in the ideological sense; think of each neural pathway simply running in reverse), yet who is therefore an almost perfect counterpart to me. Zapruder is the coolest, most unassuming teacher in his poetry, always stretching your mind out (in an almost literal way, the way his frequent enjambments and lack of punctuation demand a substantial and meaningful hold on your attention), making y ...more
Dec 09, 2011 L.J. rated it it was amazing
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 d
Apr 11, 2012 A. rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
We read this for the bookstore poetry group. Going into the discussion, I was lukewarm on the book. There were some brilliant poems, but many seem to meander without much purpose. Once we began the discussion, it seemed there were beautiful nuggets in almost every piece. I'm not sure how I can read a book three times through and miss so much. After the meeting, one of the guys in the group asked, "what happens during a reading? Does anyone get anything?" I can tell you that if I don't have the t ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 22, 2012 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, read2012
Loved this, most of this. Some of the poems are a little too random but others make complete sense in their randomness.

"Come On All You Ghosts," the last poem in the volume (and the title poem) is great, a must-read, a little bit of a tribute to the current reader of the poem.

Zapruder also writes about less serious things, like White Castle.

Here is a little clip from "Never Before"

"...Come home
those who love a librarian aspect. I am one,
for give her time and she will answer any question
no matt
Jan 11, 2012 Zweegas marked it as to-read
Last year I chose 15 books from the New York Times 100 notable books of 2010 list. So far I've read 5 of them with reactions ranging from absolute hatred to tepid amusement. I can resist trying it again though, so this is my list of 15 books from the NYT notable books of 2011 list that I picked to add to my reading list:

Angel Esmeralda -- Don Delillo
Leftovers -- Tom Perrotta
Buddha In The Attic -- Julie Otsuka
The Last Werewolf -- Glen Duncan
Mr. Fox -- Helen Oyeyemi
Come On All You Ghosts -- Matthe
Dec 31, 2013 Julia rated it it was amazing
My introduction to Matthew Zapruder, lovely lovely. Zapruder is acutely aware of living in a postmodern world, and these poems are a sincere reaching-out, a sentimental but necessary call to empathy, even as they--the poems--problematize the possibility of communication.

It's probably not for everyone (read: form lovers) but if it resonates, it really resonates.

I love these lines. Zapruder's metaphors are often breathtaking.

" ...I have always loved
the loneliness of those midsized cities
strewn a
Michelle Despres
Aug 13, 2016 Michelle Despres rated it liked it
Overall, I liked it (so, a 3) with some 4- and 5-star lines and poems.


I mean to say that just like when I was thirteen
it has been a hidden pleasure but mostly an awful pain
talking to you with a voice that pretends to be shy
and actually is, always in search of the question
that might make you ask me one in return.

I am a beautiful scroll
on which the history
of a dynasty has been written
in a dead language
not even one lonely scholar knows.
--After Reading Tu Fu...

true I fear my d
Jan 02, 2011 Matt rated it liked it
I read and really liked _Pajamist_, and I think I'm sort of aware of Zapruder's place in contemporary poetry. But I thought this volume was kind of dull-- the language to me was very discusrive, very flat and prosey in a way that made the book not very interesting to read. It felt like a lot of old ideas, brought across without much enthusiasm.

I do think the final long poem, as much as it wasn't thematically all that interesting, was the best thing here. Which is a real change from the long, "Pa
Julia Stein
Jan 02, 2014 Julia Stein rated it it was amazing
Zapruder macht mich glücklich. Seine Gedichte sind sinnlich, bunt mit starker, originellen Metaphern, die nie schwer oder gewollt wirken. Er spricht über große Gefühle ohne pathetisch oder kitschig zu werden. Er ist auch als hip und jung bezeichnet worden und auch, wenn ich es nicht mag, einen Dichter als hip zu bezeichnen, stimmt es irgendwie. Er ist einer der amerikanischen Dichter der Gegenwart die ich besonders bewundere. Wer z.B. auch Mark Strand mag, wird ihn auch mögen, könnte ich mir vor ...more
May 02, 2013 Brianna rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Good gracious, this is beautiful. Matthew Zapruder is particularly good at capturing a dream-like, floating essence in his poems without visibly pinning it down. There's a lot of color in his poems, and the work exists very much in a time that is now with its references to Xerox, the Higgs boson, diet Coke, and others. I found it interesting that there were a number of poems where Zapruder refers to books he's been reading, it seemed like a running bit.

Favorite poems:
April Snow
Never Before
Feb 26, 2011 Maggie rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, read-in-11
I think this was more like a 3.5-star read for me. When Zapruder is at his best, the poems in this collection take readers on small journeys with unexpected destinations. This was especially the case for me in the first two sections and in the long title poem at the end. Elsewhere, though, the syntax gets a little too soupy and some of the poems seem to lack or to lose focus. This is my first time reading Zapruder's work, and I enjoyed this collection enough to search out The Pajamaist.
Jul 14, 2015 Stephen rated it really liked it
Zapruder's poetry has a melancholy twinge that lends weight and a feeling of significance. There are some stellar poems in this book. I especially remember the "The Prelude", a poem first about Diet Coke which then turns to be about loneliness, wanderlust and despair. Zapruder often references other poets, popular culture (especially American culture) and his own family and heritage. I recommend this for people who want to read good modern poetry.
Jan 08, 2012 Eric rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I try to read a poem or two a day, and I do so by rotating through a pile of five books of poetry next to my bed. For better or worse, I can't help but judge a book based on how I'm enjoying the others in my pile. I just like my other books more right now. Other than the title poem, which I would give 4 stars at least, I couldn't find much to which I might return. That poem's pretty amazing. Meta, moving, and memorable.
I don't know why, but I just couldn't seem to get through this book. I picked it up many times and even found a couple of good poems. But as a whole, it didn't grab my attention enough for me to finish. The cover is what led me to check this book out in the first place. The design is unique and the first few poems are strong. But the book tapers off. I tried...who knows, maybe I'll give it another go in the future.
May 31, 2016 Matt rated it it was amazing
First review (Jan 2011): At moments, this book reminded me what I love about poetry. Zapruder writes in an easy, prose-like style, but his words are deceptively complex. He is a master of the line break and sparely uses punctuation with the effect of compounding the meanings of his words, allowing them to not collapse to a single meaning, but revel in the multiplicity of meanings. Highlights: "Together Yet Also Apart," "Pockets," and the titular "Come On All You Ghosts."
May 04, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
It would have been three stars, except for the title poem.

Come on all you ghosts,

try to make me repeat
the most terrible thing I said
to someone and I will

if the mind of that someone
could ever be eased.
Come on let's vote

for no one in the election
of who is next to die.
Come on all you ghosts,

I know you can hear me,
I know you are here,
I have heard you cough

and sigh when I pretend
I do not believe
I have to say something important.
Darin Ciccotelli
Feb 07, 2011 Darin Ciccotelli rated it liked it
I really liked this book, but I also kept thinking that 1.) I preferred THE PAJAMAIST, mostly because it has my favorite Matthew Zapruder poem in it ("Twenty Poems for Noelle"), 2.) I preferred THE CLOUD CORPORATION, which I read at the same time, and 3.) I feel like there's a somewhat predictable Matthew Zapruder poem, and I keep wanting this poet to do something radically different. But these might be unfair complaints.
Jul 17, 2013 Alexandra rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful collection of poems. I love so many of them that I don't know where to start. They are haunting, funny, clever, and evocative. I have read this collection over and over and I never get tired of it. It's deserving of all the high praise and I can't wait to read Matthew's next collection, Sun Bear, which is coming out soon.
May 25, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Loved this. Definitely need to read it again to fully digest. Loved "Pocket" and the title poem. Part 1 seems to take a sort of disingenuous, almost childlike approach to things, though not to the detriment of the poems. This is dropped later. Zapruder walks the line wonderfully between sentimentality and deep, universal subjects. Recommended fully.
Feb 04, 2015 Liam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I think this is one of the better collections I've read in a while. I like his juxtaposition of seemingly disparate thoughts. I like his take on memory and what is worth remembering, and the constant questioning of what is life about. Many seem autobiographical as is typical with poetry, but we come away feeling we know Matthew and I like that.
Roy Kesey
Jul 18, 2013 Roy Kesey rated it really liked it
Awfully good. Relatively short, loose lines, with great cascading line breaks each building into something new. A book happily working in contemporary idiom, daily topic, workaday detail. A lot of fun had with figure-twisting positioning of prepositional and other phrases, consciously unbalancing lines and stanzas.
Nov 15, 2010 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: home-library, poetry, 2010
this afternoon i sat downstairs, a shell filled with bicycle parts, ghosts of a punk club, my home, when there was an amazing heat wave going on, and read this book. i stopped halfway through and felt upset, unable to figure out what i wanted to be doing or why i was mad? dejected? was it the poetry? this book is good because it is a secret language in words that you know.
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“I see sad crushed plastic
everywhere and put
some thoughts composed
of words that do not
belong together
together and feel
a little digital hope.”
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