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Broadway for Paul by Vincent Katz

Alfred A. Knopf, New York, April 2020

New book available now!

Broadway for Paul

Follow Vincent Katz on Instagram for readings, comments, meditations, and odes from Broadway for Paul

“A wedding bouquet is tossed and we can’t see who the recipient is, yet the poems you read here are permissive, grateful, it’s the detail itself exploring, the foot on the edge of the river, the eye too, the man walking, standing, lyric love for manyness and 'suddenly I have x-ray vision, as Rudy said' and Vincent has history, anyone, everyone’s view, and a thirst for justice, public love and blue parks. I love the vibrant cinematic hunger of this book, its urbanity, yours and mine too." —Eileen Myles

 “We need this book. At a time when the world’s cultures seem to be closing up on themselves, Vincent Katz emphasizes the pleasure of sharing spaces, ideas, and art. His vision is generous and panoramic, with an eye toward detail and the abstract compositional beauty of crowds in motion and at rest, his style a combination of classical elegance and casual grace. But what makes these poems especially powerful is their democratic ethic. This is a virtuoso collection—and we’re all part of it.” —Elaine Equi

Vincent Katz on Jim Carroll's Living at the Movies 
Poetry Foundation, 2020


Southness by Vincent Katz
Luna Chandelier Press, New York, 2016


Available now at SPD Books!

"Vincent Katz’s new book reminds us how short a line of poetry can be (one word) while still erupting moments of stillness with the greatest anticipation. The short line in its “hodgepodge elegance” also asks us to take our time with it, to let it slow us down, to create the most ideal conditions to sit “in a friendly corner” and think with these poems (to borrow a short line from Pasolini). What a gift this is to over-stimulated, exhausted New Yorkers, as well as any citizen of the world desiring an immediate metabolic encounter with a very livable poetry."  — Stacy Szymaszek

"With a feeling of plein-air openness and a pared down syntax and a 21st-century imagist soul, Vincent Katz reminds us that poetry can be used for many things: observation, personal declaration, and joy, and they are abundant throughout this wonderful book. Southness is a sensory and sonic adventure."  —Peter Gizzi

"Vincent Katz's eye lights on the visual like a cameraman's, his intellect reflecting romantic masculinity with worldliness. Objects, moods and self-awareness have their own space and gravity. In several lyrical poems, he exercises coolness while implicitly maintaining that nothing in the medium is not personal. Denser poems present mental spaces word-to-word that thread striking affinities. The words resonate, in their abbreviation, with feeling and honesty. Southness is sophisticated hot-bloodedness underlying method and manner. Excellence modeled with humanity. The poet in and out of the shadows."  — John Godfrey 

Swimming Home by Vincent Katz
Nightboat Books, New York, 2015


Swimming Home

Swimming Home review in Jack Kimball's Pantaloons blog

Swimming Home review by Grace Cavalieri in the Washington Independent Review of Books

Swimming Home review by Elizabeth Robinson in Rain Taxi

Swimming Home is a group of poems written over the past fifteen years, in places as varied as São Paulo, Berlin, New York, the coast of Maine, Calabria, and Stockton NJ.  One feels that Katz is indeed swimming home, that is, he perceives objects and people from the vivid, but often unreliable, motivated perspective of a swimmer, with sudden bursts of crystalline accuracy, as in the masterful “Sidewalk Poem” that closes the sequence.  Here a whirlpool of visual particulars, ending with: “light is guide, beyond brick, granite, if you can follow, / in sky, on building, drifting off banner, on person walking,” is cut short by a moment of shocking certainty: “They may not think poetry’s important / but I know it is important.”  After taking in Katz’s huge, teeming opus, few would disagree.

—John Ashbery

In Vincent Katz’s new book Swimming Home, the poet pulls out all the stops like a curator might at a posthumous retrospective, had they access to the breadth of gems that punctuated every skill of a single artist over a lifetime. The good news is that this book is not looking to explore the greatest hits of a departed Old Master, but rather the startling onward movement demonstrating the full range of humanity stretched before us, as broadly-gathered and carefully-constructed of both a poet of the here-and-now and a poet whose language and experience represents the future. To be able to write this voluptuously but also this responsibly is certain to place Katz in a very exclusive canon of poets one can get lushly lost in & yet always trust.

— Angelo Micah Olin

In staccato rhythms and with crystalline matter-of-factness, Vincent Katz surrenders once again to “the tug of street.” A 21st-century flâneur whose wanderings range from the sidewalks and subways of New York City to the crowded beaches of Rio de Janeiro, the poet brilliantly taps the “energies of long-buried poetries,” whether to summon distant childhood memories or to nail fleeting details of the lives flowing around him. Never forgetting the threats hemming the edges of everyday beauty and good fortune, the poems in Swimming Home evidence Katz’s growing concern with geopolitics and mortality.  Writing explicitly in “the middle of my life,” he never lets the reader forget that “the constant losing of things is part of the dive.”  These poems remind us that the perceptual world is, indeed, wondrous, if we would only lift our eyes, for a moment, from the hypnotizing screens of our smartphones.

—Raphael Rubinstein

Beautiful rhythms, surprises, driving pulse and panoramic view entwine with the inimitable thrust of walking, and looking, and noticing and thinking. There is deep pleasure in reading Vincent Katz’s Swimming Home. He’s got a fabulous eye out in the particulate roaring peopled world. I love these poems for their metabolism, immediacy, their dharmic politics and muscle.  I want to swim home too and land where

Poetry can’t mean that much, everyone asleep
Another year, another weight of looking and thinking
About everyone, and then there is just music
And people walking by the shore, their humble
Bodies, their self-desires, their anguish, I see
I am a poet, I step on the same sand as Homer

Katz — an impressive Latin and Greek classics translator as well — is an inheritor of Frank O’Hara’s and Edwin Denby’s gait and startled amusement but takes us into a new zone with different urgency and perspective. I feel sane, awake and optimistic inside these meditatively alert poems. Just the right balance for the 21st century.

— Anne Waldman

Swimming Home by Vincent Katz
Nightboat Books, New York, 2015.
Reviewed in the Winter 2015 issue of Rain Taxi magazine

Reviewed by Elizabeth Robinson

Vincent Katz’s poetry in Swimming Home has an urban, and urbane, surface, though it’s marked by nuanced interiority. That is, the surface play of these poems seems to take in all the world with an easy and undiscriminating welcome, “complaint / sentences /moving endlessly / through space.” The world of thought that lies beneath this busy surface moves on a different current: searching, meditative, and yet still affirmative. The hallmark of this collection is, in fact, the generosity of its embrace: “Sun red ball; sliver moon. / Endless traffic; sky haze. / Skyscraper; low-lying house. / Garden; enormous.” It is rare to read a contemporary poetry that opens itself to experience with relatively little ambivalence and so much pleasure.

This does not mean that these poems are facile or simplistic. Rather, Katz’s poetry helps us understand that the grammar and vocabulary of the affirmative can (and must) be more complex than we typically permit or understand it to be. That’s why the surface textures of Katz’s poems are so important: they dapple the inner stream of his poems with perceptive attentions that shoes he knows the perplexities of the world and yet has found a way to navigate them without being overtaken by despair. But Katz’s poetry does include critique and lament. He’s keenly aware of the “frail balance / on the blighted globe.” He sadly acknowledges, “All countries are carved / Out of human flesh none / Is logical or reasonable.” Katz’s solution to such chaos is not to propose a new order, but to re-envision chaos as productive: “good we were able to forget those / attempters of life-structuring, our lives in particular, which brook no structure.”


Collaboration between Vincent Katz and Alex Katz, poem read by Jennifer Jason Leigh
October 2006

Jennifer Jason Leigh reads poetry by Vincent Katz, with drawings by Alex Katz. Presented by Esopus Magazine at The Kitchen, October 2006.