Story of a Poem: A Memoir (Hardcover)
"Story of a Poem is the luminous, lyrical meditation on wringing beauty from suffering and air, threaded with a singular, moving story about parenting an atypical child. I read it in a single gulp, and you will too." --Mary Karr, Bestselling author of The Liar's Club
Matthew Zapruder had an idea: to write a poem as slowly and intentionally as possible, to preserve its drafts, and record the painstaking, elusively transcendent stuff of its construction. It would be the capstone to a new collection of poetry, and a means to process modern American life in a time of Covid, mega fires, and sobriety.
What Zapruder didn't anticipate was that this literary project would trigger a deeply personal aspect as well: a way to resolve the unexplored pain and unexpected joys he was confronting in the wake of his son's diagnosis with autism. The result is a remarkable piece of writing, one that explores not just what it means to be a poet, but also what it means to be alive during the Anthropocene--to be on this planet--during this extraordinary time.
By comparing the writing of a poem with his own tangled evolution as a son, husband, and father, Zapruder unfolds moments of his own life in the reflection of an increasingly uncanny world. With a wide range of reference points--from Celan, Li Bai, and Frank O'Hara to Whitman, Merwin, and Rupi Kaur--we join Zapruder on a poet's journey that, in some alchemy of literature, becomes a journey of our own.
Ultimately, the poet asks us to join with him in the search for a crucial answer. In his words: "What world can we imagine, and then make, where we all can live?" With Story of a Poem celebrated poet Matthew Zapruder offers a personal, deeply unguarded examination of a poet's eternal struggle to transform a moment of feeling into verse, as well as a subtle and enthralling roadmap to the practice of poetry and finding its threads in everyday life.