poem index

About this poet

Matthew Zapruder was born in 1967 in Washington, D.C. He received a BA from Amherst College, an MA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Zapruder’s first book, American Linden, was published by Tupelo Press in 2002 after winning the Tupelo Press Editors’ Prize. He is also the author of the poetry collections Sun Bear (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), The Pajamaist (Copper Canyon Press, 2006), and Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon Press, 2010). His honors include the May Sarton poetry award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

About Zapruder’s poems, Tony Hoagland has said, "Zapruder has not just a deft manner, but an inwardness which is sturdy and generous, a little reminiscent of the James Wright of quite a different era."

With Joshua Beckman, Zapruder coedits Wave Books. He lives in San Francisco and teaches at Saint Mary’s College of California.

Poem for Jack Spicer

Matthew Zapruder
It's the start of baseball season,
and I am thinking again 
as I do every year 
in early April now 
that I live in California 
where afternoon is a blue 
span to languidly cross 
of those long ones 
you used to sort of sleep 
through getting drunk 
on many beers, lying 
next to your radio 
on a little square of grass 
in the sun, listening 
half to the game and half 
to the Pacific water gently 
slapping the concrete 
barrier of the man-made cove.
I have heard it and it sounds 
like conversations among 
not there people I can't 
quite hear. But you could. 
And later you would try 
to remember what they said 
and transcribe it on your 
black typewriter 
in your sad, horrible room. 
When I read your poems 
about suicide and psychoanalysis 
I feel very lucky and ashamed 
to be alive at all. Everyone 
has been talking lately 
about radiation, iodine, 
and wind, and you are in 
your grave, far from the water. 
I know I don't care about you 
at all but when I look 
at your photograph, 
your round head tilted up 
so you are staring down 
at everyone, I remember 
how much you hated your body. 
Today I will go down by the water 
where you used to sit and think
I do not hate my body 
even though I often do. 
When I die please write he tried
on whatever stone you choose.

Copyright © 2010 by Matthew Zapruder. Used with permission of the author.

Matthew Zapruder

Matthew Zapruder

Matthew Zapruder is the author of several books of poetry including, Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon Press, 2010).

by this poet

poem

the orange ball arcs perfectly into the orange hoop

making a sound like a drawer closing

you will never get to hold that

I am here and nothing terrible will ever happen

across the street the giant white house full of kids

turns the pages of an endless book

poem
all day staying inside

listening to a podcast

discuss how particles 

over the Pacific 

might drift 

I knew thinking 

whenever cloud

scares me 

I am not alone

my umbrella slept 

in the closet

I placed a few nouns

in beautiful cages

then let them out

touched with my mind

the lucky cat

asleep in the
poem

All summer
it was on fire
I was as always
in California,
looking out my window,
discovering nothing,
then flying back
east far
above those forests
filled with black
smoke to feel
again that way
I will keep
failing to name.
O the same mistakes