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Synopsis

A debut collection that welcomes a new modernist aesthetic for the twenty-first century.

Aswirl with waking dreams and phantom memories, The Late Parade is a triumph of poetic imagination. To write about one thing, you must first write about another. In Adam Fitzgerald's debut collection, readers discover forty-eight poems that yoke together tones playful and elegiac, nostalgic and absurd. Fitzgerald's shape-shifting inspirations "beckon us to join an urban promenade" (McLane) with a multiplicity of chimerical stops: from the unreal cities of Dubai to the former Soviet Union, from Nigerian spammers and the Virgin Mary to Dr. Johnson and Cat Power.

"The glory of this volume is the long title poem, which carries the primal vision of Hart Crane into a future that does not surrender the young poet’s love of the real," writes Harold Bloom. Mash-ups of litanies, monologues and odes, these poems spring from a modernist landscape filled with madcap slips of tongue, innuendo, archaisms and everyday slang. Though Fitzgerald's lines often hallucinate meanings that feel open-ended, they never ignore the traditional pleasures of poetic craft and memory, their music an ambient drone—part Technicolor, part nitrous oxide.

Even so, what glues these fantasies together is more than the charm of the maddeningly chameleon rhetoric. Fitzgerald's sonorous voice is unabashedly that of a love poet's: melancholic, baroque and visionary. The Late Parade is a testament to the powers of confusion, which may disguise our sense of loss but offer in return that eloquent tonic known as poetry. As Richard Howard writes, "When the new poet turns up the heat, he gives us just the necessary outrages which make us understand what we never knew we could say."

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