“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 Liars’ Club and Cherry
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 end cap to a new collection of poetry, and a means to process modern American life in a time of political turmoil, mega fires, and sobriety. What Zapruder didn’t anticipate was that this literary project would reveal 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 and father, but also what it means to be alive on this planet during this turbulent and 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.