I believe we all sense that below the ordinary hum of our everyday language reside deep, exciting, troubling, thoughts, ones that are difficult to articulate, but very real. These poems were written over the course of several years of grief and new joy (the sort of feelings we all go through as adults), in order to uncover thoughts, feelings and ideas we sense are present, but which are not ordinarily available to us. These poems do not require any special knowledge or training to be read. In fact, the belief that these poems do require such knowledge or training is inimical to their purpose in the world, which is to be available for anyone who needs them. Everything I say in the poems is exactly what I mean. The words, even if they are used in unusual ways or activated or have more attention given to them than is usual, mean exactly what they always do in regular life. If, while reading these poems, you find yourself trying to "read poetry" as you were unfortunately taught to do in school, thinking about symbols (when he writes X he really means Y), continually attempting to translate the poem back into the most ordinary and untroubling terms, you will be on the boat, but you will be missing everything that is actually happening. Only by taking everything literally, and reading these poems as if the language in them is the same language that we see in novels or newspaper articles or grocery lists, will we be able to go together into these poems, in order to try to feel more honest and alive.
- Matthew Zapruder '89