Adam Fitzgerald, George Washington: Poems

(Liveright, 2016)

These poems take us to strange questions: if you bed someone and then learn more about them, is the truth a replacement for the first impressions, or were the impressions a replacement for the truth? Syntax units follow each other in a way that leads us where we aren’t often prone to go. Reading these is an adventure where something is always shimmering just beyond. The fourth poem and the last are both called “George Washington,” and are about two entirely different modes of meaning. Or are they…? The detritus of a middle-class childhood here and there erupts to litter lines and poetic paragraphs. Can these stand in for or “replace” (a word that Fitzgerald uses often) something more meaningful about his and our world. There is a lot to think about here; and a lot of ways to think about what’s on your and Fitzgerald’s mind. It’s quite a success.


Samuel R. Delany