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The Late Parade


Adam Fitzgerald


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (8/4/2014)


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."

Praise For The Late Parade: Poems

Fitzgerald’s voice is a new and welcome sound in the aviary of contemporary poetry… His is a third way, a poetry that is neither sealed off from human ears nor bent solely on pleasing them. In a word, his poems are drunk on both word and allusion and are therefore doubly tipsy… The result is a poetry as lush as any of Keat’s odes, as textured as a corridor in the Louvre… No wonder this was the first debut collection acquired by W.W. Norton’s resurrected Liveright division, which helped define modernism in America in the 1920s… Reading ‘The Late Parade’ wasn’t like listening to a mountain speak. It was more like listening to the earth laugh.
— David Kirby - New York Times Book Review

In The Late Parade, Adam Fitzgerald is a master of defeating expectations so as to fulfill them farther along. One has the feeling of climbing higher along a path that is giving way under one’s feet, in pursuit always of ‘a waltz on our breath.’ Yet the rhythmic and consonant commotion of these poems ends in joy. This is a dazzling debut.

— John Ashbery

Adam Fitzgerald’s The Late Parade is wildly alive with the grit and glue of broken objects and the noise of lost things. You can count on the immense care he takes in putting music back into the world. You can count on the fact this is a book we will read for years to come.

— Dorothea Lasky

Released from the plod of workaday logics and handed over to the flow of their own becoming, the poems in The Late Parade shudder with exhilarating assurance and nonstop invention, never fully breaking it off with the familiar, but incapable of leaving it untransformed. We’ve been waiting too long for a book like this to arrive. Wake up—it’s finally here.

— Timothy Donnelly

The Late Parade by Adam Fitzgerald may be the beginning of a great career.

— Harold Bloom

Liveright, 9780871406743, 128pp.

Publication Date: June 17, 2013

About the Author

Adam Fitzgerald is the author of The Late Parade and George Washington. New poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Granta, Boston Review, the New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. Fitzgerald is contributing editor of Literary Hub, teaches at NYU, and directs The Home School. He lives in New York.