I'm excited to report that A Green River in Spring is hot off the press!
You can read five poems from the chapbook on the Coal Hill Review website.
And here's what editor Michael Simms says about this new collection:
"Matthew Thorburn invites us to inhabit his exquisitely drawn landscapes inspired by the Tang Dynasty poets. In this fully-realized world, people don’t just believe in magic, they experience it first hand: the Taoist who hitches a ride with a crane to get to heaven, the emperor who sips dew to prolong his life, the boy who falls down a well and emerges in Mongolia ‘whispering through his fever of the vast, star-clotted sky he swam beneath.’ These poems create a world very different than our own, and yet we recognize it as if we are remembering a dream."
If you'd like to pick up a copy, you can order A Green River in Spring directly from Autumn House Press or from Amazon.com. I'll add a link here too, soon, for anyone interested in a signed copy.
After taking a bit of a break, I'm excited to have a few readings coming up in the New York area over the next few months. I can't wait to have the chance to share some poems from A Green River in Spring -- poems that, come to think of it, I've never read to anyone before.
I'll be reading at the Westchester Poetry Festival in April, the Center for Book Arts in May, and the Readings in Color series in Brooklyn in June. I'm also working out the details for possible readings in the Bronx as well as Washington, D.C. Check out the Events page for more details.
I'd love to visit a university or two, whether in person or via Skype, to share my work and talk with the students about possible career paths for poets, essayists and fiction writers in addition to teaching. I'm hoping to set up something like that in the not too distant future.
This month I’m one of nine poets taking on the “30/30” challenge from Tupelo Press to write a poem a day all month – and publish it online for the world to see.
Each day my new poem will be posted here – scroll way down (the poems each day are alphabetical by author) and you’ll find my first four poems already posted. I hope you’ll visit the site periodically to see what I write this month.
This challenge is a fundraiser for Tupelo Press, an independent publisher of poetry. I hope you’ll support both Tupelo and me by reading the poems and making a tax-deductible donation to the press.
If you’d like to donate, please click here and scroll down to the form at the bottom. And please be sure to select my name from the “30/30” drop-down menu, or just note it in the “In honor of” field – we’re having a little friendly competition among the poets!
To show my appreciation, I’m offering some special thank you gifts:
Donate $25 --- I’ll send you a signed copy of one of my books/chapbooks (This Time Tomorrow, Every Possible Blue, Disappears in the Rain, or Subject to Change – your choice).
Donate $50 --- I’ll write a “30/30” poem for you on the theme/subject of your choice, plus send you one of my books.
Donate $100 --- I’ll provide detailed, constructive feedback on three of your poems (up to six pages total), plus send you one of my books.
I hope you’ll join me on this poem-writing adventure.
Big thanks to Penelope Pelizzon and the Waywiser Press for interviewing me on Facebook.
Visit the Waywiser Press page on Facebook to read the interview:
Big thanks to the Cumberland River Review for including a poem of mine in their new issue. The poem, "First Light," also leads off my upcoming chapbook, A Green River in Spring.
I'm pleased to be in such good company, sharing CRR's pages with April Ossman and Luke Johnson, as well as some other talented poets whose work I've been pleased to be introduced to there. Check out the full issue here.
I'm very happy to report that my manuscript, A Green River in Spring, has been named the winner of the Coal Hill Review chapbook competition. It was selected by judge Michael Simms, the founder and editor-in-chief of Autumn House Press, and will be published in April 2015.
A Green River in Spring is a collection of twenty short poems, many of them just eight or ten lines, one just three lines -- and even a single-linger. There's love and longing, death and grief, nostalgia and regret, and hopefulness about whatever comes next. Together, they create a little world.
A handful of the poems are forthcoming in American Poetry Review. You can also read the title poem online at Connotation Press (click here and scroll down, or read "The Angel and the Lady" first and then you'll get to it!). And another poem from manuscript, "Cicada," just appeared over on Vox Populi.
I'm very excited to be working with the folks at Autumn House and can't wait to see these poems published as a collection.
after The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh
It seemed less and less like eating strawberries in spring.
Less the blue buildings in the morning, more the beige
Of afternoon. You like beige, she said, brown
And beige. He looked around the room. More the bore
Walls of the mean room, less beyond the head, less
Instead of, I paint infinity, less the Yes possible,
Soft yes of kiss upon kiss, more the slight fadedness,
Sex gotten through, sex as exercise, all I excised,
Cleaning dishes right after dinner to put off the dread.
Less recklessness. Less wrecking, more reckoning,
More wreckage in the reckoning. Less she and no other,
More another and another, less logic, more logic,
Less against all logic, who is the master, the logic or I,
Is the logic there for me or am I there for the logic,
Is there no reason, no sense, in this unreasonableness,
This lack of sense? Less sense in more sense. The sentence.
Less activity in the looking, begging the brushwork
Out of the body, the God out of the body, getting the got
Out. More rinsing, more ironing, more soap. More stunned.
Less love as nothing rather than, love as exactness, this
Exactly what I want to be doing, nothing I would rather be
Doing, this here, this now, this coffee with autumn with you.
Less loosening, less lessening. More of more of more.
What We Talk About When We Talk About
I thought I should write this down, since your ear
is a vagina and you might not hear it if I said it out loud,
she wrote, and I couldn’t tell if she was being sweet
or funny or was just angry with me, mostly I was confused
by the metaphor and thought it was a little extreme,
I mean, was a vagina the first thing that came to mind
when she thought of my ear? Which ear was she talking about?
By then I was fingering my right ear thinking it wasn’t
all that different from a vagina, I wouldn’t be so shocked
if I took off her pants and saw an ear where her vagina
should be, took off her hat and saw two vaginas
where her ears should be, ears and vaginas were closer
than, say, vaginas and toes, and she often caressed
my ear with her tongue the way one might caress
a vagina, I’m not saying I climaxed but the possibility
was there. I looked back at previous messages between us
and saw one saying “I have a cat’s vagina for an ear,”
which briefly clarified things until it didn’t: a cat’s vagina?
Somehow there was context for this, possibly we were
laughing about saying “a pussy’s pussy” in bed,
or I was laughing about it while she and my large male cat
regarded me with some rather serious reservations,
in any case going back in time translating phrase to phrase
didn’t make things any clearer, let alone cleaner,
between us, cats and ears and vaginas were coming
to stand for our entire relationship! We’d never developed
a vocabulary for tenderness, I saw, which was hurting us
now that she wanted to say how she really felt,
or at least felt it was time to say how she really felt,
one day before the new year. On New Year’s Day
I woke up early to rinse all the extra glasses we’d used
for our party, careful not to clink them too much
as she slept face-down on the bed, still in her little black
dress, her long, cool jewelry tangled in her hair.
I started packing, jamming sweaters and socks
and scarves into my suitcase, and when she finally
pushed herself off her pillow, looking everywhere but at me,
I put on her Peruvian hat, posing in her earflaps
and braids, and she said, You’re covering your vaginas.
From America’s Favorite Poem by Jason Koo (C&R Press, 2014). Reprinted by permission of the author.
My poem "These Days" is featured on the Academy of American Poets website as today's "Poem-A-Day." This poem is part of The Trees The Way The Light, the book-length poem I've been working on over the past several years. (Two other excerpts from TTTWTL appeared on Connotation Press recently.)
I read the Poem-A-Day every day in my inbox and am proud to be in such good company. Thanks so much to the Academy for featuring my work.
Where has the summer gone? Among many other things, I've been working on a new book manuscript, swapping poems in and out, ordering and reordering them, listening close to hear them click.
And I'm excited to have some of those poems appearing now in print and online. My poem, "Like Hours of Rain on Piles of Brown Leaves," is in the new issue of New England Review. Big thanks and congratulations to poetry editor C. Dale Young, who is retiring from this post after an amazing 19 years at the journal. He was recently honored with the Stanley w. Lindberg Award for Literary Editing in recognition of this tremendous accomplishment and service to writers and readers.
Three poems from this new manuscript are also up now at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact -- "The Angel and the Lady," "A Green River in Spring" and "Cicada." Hearty thanks to editor John Hoppenthaler for including my work in the September issue.
There's a new review of This Time Tomorrow up at Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments. Hearty thanks to Michael G. Smith for his thoughtful consideration of the book. Here's an excerpt:
"And how This Time Tomorrow dizzies and dazzles with twists and turns through the narrator’s now to his then to his might be. Thorburn’s book is a love affair with all three conceptions of time: real, not real, and imagined. For this I am glad, for that’s my experience, too."
Read the full review at Terrain.org.