Rick Bursky’s latest poetry collection reaches into the peculiarities of human relationships with emotional accuracy, charm, and a touch of surrealism. In poems that channel memories of brief encounters and long-lost loves through imagination and half-recalled dreams, Let’s Become a Ghost Story turns nostalgia inside-out to reveal the innate humor of our most intimate connections.
“Rick Bursky’s Let’s Become a Ghost Story is a surrealist’s wet dream, full of crashing chandeliers, stopped clocks, and bodies turned to smoke and ash. Bursky uses these moments of magic to navigate the riskiest corners of the human heart: love, death, grief, and losses that repeat themselves like a spell. As Bursky says, ‘Everything I know about magic / I learned staring at a firing squad.’ In these poems we see that sometimes sorcery is what it takes to face our demons, especially on the unrelenting page.”
“Rick Bursky’s poems are full of good news. It is that poetry still exists.”
“In Rick Bursky’s Let’s Become a Ghost Story, the speaker and his lover constantly transform and trade positions: ‘Once, while lying on top of me, she began to tremble, / then shook violently and abruptly stopped, / then floated halfway to the ceiling. / She was playing God, or I was. I don’t remember.’ The outlandish is presented so matter-of-factly that I found myself delightedly half-believing the speaker’s assertion that ‘According to the census I am not the only person / who lists “mailbox” as their occupation.’ Bursky’s surrealism is sensical and grounded in real emotion, which allows these poems to soar.”
—Matthea Harvey, author of If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?