The Late Parade

The Late Parade: Poems

W. W. Norton / Liveright
June 2013


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



“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 Keats’ 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, The New York Times Book Review


“Fitzgerald ambles along his choice of words like a wholesale shopper in an overstocked Costco. The tone tumbles from essayistic, to joking, to philosophical, and back again. When sense escapes, an arpeggio of sound controls his poems. His grab bag diction stretches the tendons of the English language and even has the eerie effect of turning the words foreign. What look, at first, like exotic neologisms reveal themselves as simply English. The familiar, dreamed differently.”

—Eric Dean Wilson, Los Angeles Review of Books


 “[Adam Fitzgerald] enacts without trying to explain, which keeps the poems in this book fresh, surprising, and durable—especially the long title poem, which concludes the book on a note of hard-won empathy. The poet is in control of his mechanisms, yet one is readily aware of the multitude his book contains.”

—John Deming, Coldfront Magazine


“Adam Fitzgerald‘s poetry is a berserk love song and between his high-rhetoric and experimental disposition, the reader is treated to a performance that pushes delight into zones of trauma. The poems in The Late Parade nearly outbrave us with their will, except each stanza and line, though dense with wattage, is also heavy with vulnerability and yields—almost as an act of compassion—a strange and emptying alchemy we associate with a poetry that exonerates us from ourselves.”

—John Ebersole, “New Books in Poetry”


“[It] was exhilarating to read poems of such mystery, uniqueness and elusiveness unfurling themselves but remaining grounded in other arenas…there’s a craft to The Late Parade that’s incredibly potent… I could go on and on with one thing after another, and it would be amiss not to mention some of the book’s small, fantastic moments (“Inside the split- / level homes, ringtones still rung and memories of cod deliveries / hung like fire in the quaint air”; or a line like “clouds, asleep like a Subaru in the suburbs” or “in this splooge of too-mobled monuments” and the book’s final gut-punching two lines) but hopefully you reader will go off to dive into Fitzgerald’s poems; I myself am… looking forward to going back to one room after another in his masterful sky houses.”

—Jeffery Berg, Lambda Literary Review


“Like his high-modernist predecessors, Fitzgerald appends an index that offers insight into his myriad influences and source material, from Christopher Marlowe’s plays to Emily Dickinson’s letters, W. H. Auden’s poetry, David Lynch’s films, Giorgio de Chirico’s still lifes, and Cat Power’s punk blues. Part lyrical experiment, part poetic appropriation, and perfect for anyone willing to follow avant-garde explorations.”

—Diego Báez, Booklist


“Busy, ornate and elaborate, evasive in their sense, yet charged with emotion, the poems of Fitzgerald’s debut could get quick attention…Partisans—who may compare him to Crane, or even to David Foster Wallace—will accept his invitations.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Adam Fitzgerald joins an estimable line—a parade?—from Crane to Ashbery to Donnelly. Fitzgerald is truly 'a noble rider' of 'the sound of words,' to invoke Stevens. We confront here a surging ocean of sound and language, but also a sharp mind, ascetic, even astringent.”

—Maureen McLane

“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