author of Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys
"Make room for Deadbeat on the short shelf of essential mock-epic Poetry Heroes. In this winning first book, Jay Baron Nicorvo’s coy and coruscating narrator stands shoulder to shoulder with Ed Dorn’s Gunslinger and Marvin Bell’s Dead Man, to say nothing of Mr. Bones and John Berryman. With generous helpings of Hopkins, Cummings and Creeley too, these poems provide a literary feast with intelligence and panache to spare."
author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
"Deadbeat is disarming in its ability to engage with both the seemingly mundane (untied shoelace? Go Velcro) and the eternal (the screw holding heaven together), often in the same poem ('Deadbeat on High'), often in the same breath, swinging easily between dark comedy and glancing heartbreak. It seems possible that Jay Baron Nicorvo has ingested all the darkness of this life and now breathes fire."
author of Lighthead, winner of the National Book Award
"Jay Baron Nicorvo’s marvelous debut is something of a contemporary epic shot through with paradoxical levity and gravity. Our hero is a sad trickster, a persona for whom the slippery echo of 'dad' can be heard each time the name 'Deadbeat' is sung, spat or chuckled. These poems explore what it is to be loving and loveless and ultimately give us an irreducible view of our humanity. Deadbeat is a book of joy, melancholy and abiding tenderness."
"Nicorvo's wry and seriocomic debut presents scenes, symbols, and durable remarks from the life of his titular alter ego, a figure (like Berryman's Henry or Mary Jo Bang's Louise) who both is and is not the author, whose searing and ridiculous misadventures make him sometimes larger and sometimes smaller than life, anyone or everyone, with modern bourgeois problems, unspooling obligations, and a washed-out interior life... Nicorvo, who lives in Michigan, delivers these scenes in free verse with a confident cadence, never prosy but never too far from prose sense. Coherent and memorable in its dry sadness, this sequence may...also grow stranger upon rereading, its meditations on fatherhood, descent, masculinity, and responsibility giving it something that most of those models lack."