No Matter

This second collection of poetry from Jana Prikryl (The After Party), senior poetry editor for the New York Review of Books, is a playful and melancholy reordering of everyday life in the metropolis. In Prikryl's city, David Bowie gives mobile tours and the ancient characters of the Aeneid slip into the background of modernity. The binaries of the world collapse within No Matter, or perhaps they were barely in place to begin with. Titles reappear over and over in unknown patterns. Even the language is slippery and unpredictable, as Prikryl stacks incongruous lines and stanzas on top of one another in a moderate cut up: "when was it I gathered that dissolve/ was native to them, how long after/ I gave myself away in the corner." This is poetry as jazz: loose and prone to chaos. Prikryl is creating work that reads as totally, hauntingly melodic.

No Matter is arguably not for readers new to poetry; this is challenging work even perhaps for veteran bibliophiles, but that's a good thing. These are poems of urban spaces unstuck in time and known to few. (The lyrics of Astral Weeks come to mind.) Yet Jana Prikryl gives the interested party a chance to explore them and experience something new. This is a book of ordinary moments turned into catastrophe, where leisurely walks down the streets become literally explosive. A superb feat of insight, "distinctions/ and an amazing capacity for imagining" that shouldn't be missed by those with a taste for something bold. --C.M. Crockford, freelance reviewer

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