You could say that Matthew Zapruder’s Story of a Poem is about the revision of a poem, that it follows the life of one poem, from its first phrase to its final draft, and invites us, in the most mesmerizing way, behind the curtain of the creative process of composition. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But really it is also the story of the revision of the poet as well, a revision of the stories that make up his own sense of self, that situate him in the world. When his son is diagnosed with autism many of the things that Zapruder had organized his own sense of identity around—a facility and quickness with language to name but one—were called into question. To show up as the father he wanted to be for his son, to truly see him on his own terms, he had to revise his notion of himself. He had to find a new form of being. Zapruder’s new book is also a new form, part prose, part poetry, and is the story of this journey, one that looks at how a poem comes to be, how the poet enters a place that is provisional by welcoming a certain unknowingness, as a guide toward doing the same for himself. Story of a Poem is about poetry and story, revision and self-becoming, coming together and coming undone, and more than anything about building a world where the people and things you most love can thrive.
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