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Rick Snyder: Escape from Combray
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~Poetry~ | $14 ($12 direct from UDP)
Perfect-bound. 80 pp, 5 x 7.75 in.
ISBN 978-1-933254-51-7
Publication Date: October 1, 2009
Distribution: ~SPD~

Escape from Combray presents an intimate cycle of poems exploring the growing sense of urban ennui and dislocation affecting a generation of Americans. Snyder’s poems evokes a psychogeographic landscape where quotidian symbols of the working class juxtapose with the timeless profundity of Proust, Virgil, and Dante.

“Stan Brakhage writes ‘The American inherently struggles to be gentle and at the same time not to be taken advantage of.’ Nowhere is this notion more evident than in Rick Snyder’s remarkable poems, whose sweet-bitter speakers reveal the numerous states (both territories and conditions) with which—and in which—to fall in love and take issue. I’m very glad this book is in the world.” —GRAHAM FOUST

“I find myself reading Rick Snyder’s Escape from Combray on a gray summer morning in Maine. Its cityscapes, scenes, and sounds echo along the pines, intertwine with rural chirrups. These beautiful poems show how experience is shaped when the senses expand the flatness of the present in unfolding rhythmic phrases. Snyder’s pen moves skillfully from the casualness of a chance encounter into Augustine’s house of memory. It is what poetry does best, though one rarely sees it done so well.” —JENNIFER MOXLEY

“These poems often occur at dusk on the way home from work, the mind loosed from constraints and merging with the ambience of city streets. They record the sad but sustaining ironies of urban life—shops lighting up for the night, dirty snow, pockets of neglect and obsolescence—as well as brief glimpses of unexpected happiness. Throughout, one finds a light touch, whimsical self-regard, and lyrical wistfulness. Escape from Combray dips into the stream of days and the vernaculars of our time in order to draw up something memorable.” —DEVIN JOHNSTON

“Quiet, moving, brutally nostalgic. Details—a soup-can’s expiration date (associated with the expiry of a relationship), a broken cuckoo-clock (in a dead aunt’s apartment)—are unsentimental emblems of the disjunct between then and now. The markers of loss persist in accumulating. ‘How can you stand it, living among the relics of the future?’ No problem, at least while we’re in the company of these fresh, startlingly elegant poems.” —CATHY WAGNER

“Timely and timeless, these poems echo the best of veterans like Simic or Strand but pop with an updated disquietude, a low-key magic that conjures from familiar architecture new alcoves, new apses.” —PETER MOYSAENKO for BOMBLOG

“Escape from Combray is a powerful first book.” —JOHN YAU for The Brooklyn Rail

“Snyder is an astoundingly articulate poet, able to thrust the reader straight into those eerie nighttime experiences to hear loud and clear the sound of ‘crumpling paper / and foil.’  This is an enveloping debut.” —PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY (starred review)


02.15.10 | Read the introduction to Rick Snyder at his recent reading at the Bowery Poetry Club on Ululations

02.11.10 | Nice feedback on Rick Snyder’s reading at the Bowery Poetry Club on Fait Accompli blog.

02.03.10 | Escape from Combray and g-point almanac: passyunk lost reviewed in The Supercollider blog

02.01.10 | Open Books reviews Rick Snyder’s Escape from Combray on its website.

12.17.09 | Barrelhouse names Rick Snyder’s Escape from Combray among the best poetry debuts of 2009.

11.03.09 | Rick Snyder’s Escape from Combray is reviewed by Peter Moysaenko on BOMBLOG

11.01.09 | John Yau reviews Rick Snyder’s Escape from Combray, ‘a powerful first book,’ in The Brooklyn Rail

10.19.09 | Publishers Weekly reviews Rick Snyder’s Escape from Combray

10.13.09 | John Latta reviews Rick Snyder’s Escape from Combray on Isola di Rifiuti blog.

Rick Snyder

Rick Snyder is the author of Escape from Combray (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009). His chapbooks include Paper Poem (Dusie, 2006), Flown Season (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2004), and Forecast Memorial (Duration, 2002). His poems, essays, and translations have appeared, or are forthcoming in Aufgabe, Fence, jubilat, Jacket, Ping Pong, and other journals. He currently teaches Latin and classical studies at the University of Rochester.