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    Chasing Ghosts
    by M.Z. Ribalow

M.Z. Ribalow is a poet, playwright and author. His novel Peanuts and Crackerjacks and his new play Masterpiece are 2011 publications, and his short fiction appeared in an anthology on Luck in 2010. His two dozen plays have received some 180 productions in a dozen countries; four have been published. His work has been anthologized and has won prizes in London, New York, and regionally.  He is series editor of the Plays from New River volumes (McFarland Publications) and has also co-written ten children’s books and non-fiction books on sports, baseball and chess. He writes frequently on film, theatre, literature, music, and has appeared as a film historian on The Discovery Channel and on special feature documentaries of several DVD releases of classic films. He is Artistic Director and co-founder of New River Dramatists, which has for the last decade successfully developed hundreds of new plays and screenplays while discovering and nurturing gifted writers, and which also presents poetry, fiction and drama on the New River Radio Show on Art International Radio online. He lives in New York City, where he is currently full-time artist-in-residence at Fordham University.

Chasing Ghosts
by M.Z. Ribalow

“M.Z. Ribalow is a poet of real distinction. His work is precise, perceptive, and provocative—in the best sense available to the mind and heart. I strongly recommend Chasing Ghosts. Discover it, and you will return to it again and again.”

- N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer Prize Laureate, author of Again the Far Morning

ISBN 978-0-9832747-3-5
80 pages
5.5”x8.5” perfect bound, paper

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Soldier, you should not have
swallowed so much blood.
We sacrifice our vampires
our Technicolor monsters
our King Kongs,
Lee Harvey Oswalds.
Your severed head
stuck on a stake
competes for Nielsen ratings.

Astrologers whisper dark omens.
Each night, a bad moon rises;
your ghosts appear, a row
of raw bleeding ulcers.
Your insomniac wife will
drop dead in the last act.
Nothing is left but a front-page death
so you brought your rifle to the roof
and murdered pedestrians.

You should have watched out
for those weird sisters,
witches sharp as computers.
Clickety-clack, prophecies
spun off precise as IBM cards.
Spectres instead of statistics.
They invest in apparitions.
Do not fold, bend or mutilate.
These things will happen.


“An intellectual who persists in the love of language, an aging lover who dates Dickinson but marries Millay, a poet who is a king of paradox, M. Z. Ribalow, in his Chasing Ghosts cannot escape blood in our bloody continuing era, but his poetry is inspiring. He is a first-rate poet who yearns for connection even as he is most at home with the separateness with which we are all afflicted. If you strive for the poetry which builds a rough unity and is about the flightiness of reality, you will be at home with Ribalow's work."

- Andrew Glaze, SEBA Book of the Year Winner for Poetry, author of Reality Street and Someone Will Go On Owing

"M. Z. Ribalow is a poet not of the thing itself, but of the thing’s echoes, the thousand aftermaths of movies and conversations with God and midnight neurotic phone calls and ticking memories, the regret that becomes a salvation of sorts without ever ceasing to be regret, the ‘quiet ache that is its own heartbeat.’ These poems are lyrical but never flowery, cool but not detached, suffused at every elegantly turned phrase by meaning, or the hunger for it." 

- Glen Hirshberg, winner of the 2008 Shirley Jackson Award, author of American Morons and The Book of Bunk

Chasing Ghosts is a heartfelt, brave and articulate collection from a writer who is not afraid to look, with an unsparing eye, at birth, death, and all the stages of lived experience in between. Readers will pick this book up again and again."

- Sharon Pomerantz, author of Rich Boy

"Beyond beautiful, beyond brilliant, M. Z. Ribalow's poetry unveils for the reader a paradise never fully lost, satisfying—at last—the unslakable heart."

- Alethea Black, winner of the 2008 Arts & Letters Prize, author of I Knew You’d Be Lovely

“M. Z. Ribalow's poems dissect the universal struggle to sustain the integrity of our relationships, and to navigate our  personal despair. Ribalow observes the mysterious entanglements, compulsions of love, paradoxes of human violence, and the necessary task of upholding our humanity even as we work to untangle our personal, societal, and historical identities. His language is subtle, full-bodied, passionate, and nuanced. These poems will rivet and compel your attention; delve into them and enjoy.”

- Cassandra Medley, winner of the 2007 August Wilson Prize, author of Relativity and Noon Day Sun