Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed poet and editor JANA PRIKRYL—author of The After Party—for a reading from her latest collection, No Matter: Poems. She will be joined in conversation by celebrated writer, New Yorker critic, and Harvard professor JAMES WOOD.
Jana Prikryl’s No Matter guides the reader through cities—remembered and imagined—toppling past the point of decline and fall. Conjured by voices alternately ardent, caustic, grieving, but always watchful, these soliloquies move from free verse through sonnets and invented forms, insisting that every demolition builds something new and unforeseen. In reactionary times, these poems say, we each have a responsibility to use our imagination.
No Matter is an elegy for our ongoing moment, when what seemed permanent suddenly appears to be on the brink of disappearing.
“One of the most original voices of her generation has produced a second brilliant book. These poems, urban and urbane, offbeat and stringent, welcome the reader with a beguiling lucidity; but that sparkling surface, as in the best John Ashbery poems, hides an obliquity that turns out to be provocative and sometimes complexly self-unraveling. Nothing is quite as it seems—’like the East River pretending / to be a river when it’s merely an appetite’—and the world is estranged and transfigured in this enchanting work. My idea of the good life would be a new Jana Prikryl poem, served daily with my breakfast, till the end of my days.” —James Wood
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.