All American Poem

( 2 )

Overview

Winner of the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Award.

?Matthew Dickman?s all-American poems are the epitome of the pleasure principle; as clever as they are, they refuse to have ulterior intellectual pretensions; really, I think, they are spiritual in character?free and easy and unself-conscious, lusty, full of sensuous aspiration. . . . We turn loose such poets into our culture so that they can provoke the rest of us into saying everything on our minds.??Tony Hoagland, APR/Honickman First Book Prize ...

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Overview

Winner of the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Award.

“Matthew Dickman’s all-American poems are the epitome of the pleasure principle; as clever as they are, they refuse to have ulterior intellectual pretensions; really, I think, they are spiritual in character—free and easy and unself-conscious, lusty, full of sensuous aspiration. . . . We turn loose such poets into our culture so that they can provoke the rest of us into saying everything on our minds.”—Tony Hoagland, APR/Honickman First Book Prize judge

"Dickman crystallizes and celebrates human contact, reminding us...that our best memories, those most worth holding on to, those that might save us, will be memories of love....The background, then, is a downbeat America resolutely of the moment; the style, though, looks back to the singing free verse of Walt Whitman and Frank O'Hara....(Dickman's) work sings with all the crazy vereve of the West." —Los Angeles Times

"Toughness with a smile....(Dickman) breathes the air of Whitman, Kerouac, O'Hara, and Koch, each of whom pushed against the grain of what poetry and writing was supposed to be in their times." —New Haven Review

All American Poem plumbs the ecstatic nature of our daily lives. In these unhermetic poems, pop culture and the sacred go hand in hand. As Matthew Dickman said in an interview, he wants the “people from the community that I come from”—a blue-collar neighborhood in Portland, Oregon—to get his poems. “Also, I decided to include anything I wanted in my poems. . . . Pepsi, McDonald’s, the word ‘ass.’”

There is no one to save us
because there is no need to be saved.
I’ve hurt you. I’ve loved you. I’ve mowed
the front yard. When the stranger wearing a sheer white dress
covered in a million beads
slinks toward me like an over-sexed chandelier suddenly come to life,
I take her hand in mine. I spin her out
and bring her in. This is the almond grove
in the dark slow dance.
It is what we should be doing right now. Scraping
for joy . . .

Matthew Dickman is the winner of the May Sarton Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a poetry editor of Tin House, and the coauthor, with brother Michael Dickman, of 50 American Plays. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780977639540
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Series: APR Honickman 1st Book Award Series
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 636,552
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Matthew Dickman won the APR/Honnickman First Book Prize for his book All American Poem. His poems have appeared in a wide range of publications, including The New Yorker, Tin House, and Lyric. When not attending a writer's residency, he works in a bakery, where he can "shape five baguettes in under three minutes."
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Table of Contents

The mysterious human heart 5

Slow dance 6

Some days 8

At night my hat 12

Classical poem 13

Love 15

The black album 19

Public parks 21

An imaginary French film 25

Snow 26

Byron loves me 31

V 33

Roma 35

Thanksgiving poem 37

Amigos 40

All-American poem 42

Sad little outlaw 51

Country music 52

Grief 54

Trouble 56

Lents District 58

We are not temples 63

American standard 66

The cows of Point Reyes 68

Chick Corea is alive and well! 71

American studies 73

Lucky number 76

Poem for the night Emily opened her beer with a Bic lighter 78

The small clasp 80

The world is too huge to grasp 82

Notes 85

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What to Grasp

    All of us have the innate sense that more of our edgier thoughts could get over themselves, walk across the divide, and make friends with compassion and humor. Matthew Dickman made this choice long ago, and adds to his poetic magic by noticing so much of the unnoticeable in our lives. He swims in passion, speaks truth to power, embraces vulnerability and jumps for joy. Dickman's style fits free verse like a high quality sleeping bag already filled with your favorite person.

    And this book contains within its pages my now most favorite poem, "Love". You'd have to write a pretty damn good poem with a simple, unoriginal title like that, and Dickman pulls it off. Makes me even more disappointed that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

    I'd give this a higher rating, but I'm not always a fan of books in which every single poem is written in the same style. Plus the frequency in which Dickman discusses sleeping with other people's wives seems sophomoric and takes away from the major themes of the book.

    This Oregon Book Award winner will have major lasting power, yet I look forward to more of his work. I glance at the celebrity tabloids while grocery shopping and wonder what Dickman will write next. I watch Sex & the City and wonder what Dickman will write next. I read about repression all over the world and wonder what Dickman will write next.

    He titles one poem here "The World is Too Huge to Grasp". Yet so much of what you grasp will end up loving you back.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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