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Heat Wake
Jason Zuzga

2016 • 96 pp. 5 1/2 x 7 1/2"
Poetry / Poetry - LGBT

$16.00 Paperback, 978-0-9962206-2-0

“Zuzga’s debut collection...erupts in expressions that alternate between euphoria and lament. He establishes this strange amalgam from the opening lines of the first poem: “All rocks are queer. By... [continued in Reviews below]”—Publishers Weekly

Mixing science with humor, humanity, whimsy, and love, Jason Zuzga’s debut collection is a revelation

Heat Wake the phrase could designate the heat of the just-deceased animal, the warmed seat, the legacy of the anthropocene, the Fata Morgana that swirls and ripples sightlines. Heat Wake the book swirls with tactility, biology, evolution, and desire: hands reach, grab, feel, and are held as the poems percolate with quick sonic link and variation. The poems unfold amid the presence of stubborn rocks, ocean, suburban New Jersey, all approached at a queer angle. Time itself fluctuates within the poems and is central to their unfolding through the limited time of humans versus time cinematic, evolutionary, geological, and cosmic. Propelled by rollicking, playful language and quick-as-a-strobe-light metaphor, the reader travels through desire and its vicissitudes, through yearning and touch and the shaping of the future, from two boys stumbling toward each other in the darkness of a college dormitory to a bed in the depths of the sea, from the taciturn Arizona desert to giant sloths on Mars.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

"Zuzga’s debut collection...erupts in expressions that alternate between euphoria and lament. He establishes this strange amalgam from the opening lines of the first poem: “All rocks are queer. By this I mean/ I’m gay.” In “Love Poem,” Zuzga recalls a melancholic youth in the dark shadow of an emerging queer identity (“I was angry at myself for being a teenaged mermaid”)...In the title poem, he gets futuristic, imagining the cyborg “not-yet elephants of Mars.”"—Publishers Weekly

"The loss of the father, the complexities of time and love—traditional lyric concerns woven together with iconic images from pop culture create a world deeply felt and wonderfully habitable...It is appropriate that the opening poem is titled "Elegy," and no, it isn't ironic that it is a love poem, for it, like the others in the book, is an example of a heat wake, of the warmth of life that gets left behind. The best we can do is love it all as it passes from us.""—Christopher Nelson, Under a Warm Green Linden

"Heat Wake is everything I am excited about in poetry now...Who connects time travel and the sleek bodies of surfers and drive down the coast in such a strange and beautiful way?... I would trade this one poem for a dozen other full collections I have read in the past year...this collection makes you want to write your own poems because it just hums with an infectious vitality...You must have it in your life and on your shelf."—

“Charming, witty, and science-y smart, these debut collection poems pop with volleys of youthful and wise acts, tactics, maneuvers, catastrophes, scenes, and did I mention love poems overrunning!”—Jane Miller

For the anatomical sensations he observes, in the tenderness of his sentences, in his insatiate curiosity, his experience of surrealism, we might consider Jason Zuzga the Oliver Sacks of poetry.  His new book Heat Wake is a miracle of pacing, reflection, action mixed together in scherzo form.—Kevin Killian

A less moral Moore, Zuzga understands that the social and the natural relate in ways science alone cannot realize. Unboundaried, unanxious, his queer imagination finds backdoor correspondences that would make even Baudelaire blush.—Christopher Schmidt

From the Book:

Second grade: he's shot. / In the armpit. Ouch that stings. / I enlist the second grade in a simulation of / Escape from Witch Mountain. I am picked / last for kickball. I kick the air hard.

JASON ZUZGA was born in Camden, New Jersey, and grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. His work has appeared in numerous journals including Paris Review, Tin House, and the Yale Review. He is currently pursuing a PhD in the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania, working on a dissertation about nature documentary and media.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:28:33 -0500