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A Green Light

Overview

Matthew Rohrer’s simple, hilarious, generous and strangely disquieting poems conjure versions of the most familiar aspects of our lives—friendship, marriage, childhood, work—into which intrude incongruous, peculiar, fantastical, yet somehow totally recognizable elements. Over and over these poems leave us convinced that we’ve learned something very important and mysterious, yet we can’t say exactly what.

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Overview

Matthew Rohrer’s simple, hilarious, generous and strangely disquieting poems conjure versions of the most familiar aspects of our lives—friendship, marriage, childhood, work—into which intrude incongruous, peculiar, fantastical, yet somehow totally recognizable elements. Over and over these poems leave us convinced that we’ve learned something very important and mysterious, yet we can’t say exactly what.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rohrer won the National Poetry Series 10 years ago with A Hummock in the Malookas; this fourth book of poetry follows hard on the heels of Nice Hat. Thanks, his comic-verse collaboration with Joshua Beckman. Though it includes serious ecological themes (notably in "Hone Quarry," a series of 56-syllable stanzas about a camping trip), this wary, slippery new volume's dominant notes are deadpan humor and bleak nonstop irony. "No one watches over us unless our uncles/ are flying planes," Rohrer warns in "I Hail from the Bottom of the Sea, the Land of Eternal Darkness." Another long poem, "MK Ultra" (named for the CIA's infamous LSD tests), shows a "patron saint of corridors" chowing down on "the most/ gorgonzola he'd ever eaten." If Rohrer sometimes seems (like James Tate) out to entertain, he also (like Tate) tries to learn from Eastern Europeans, whose juxtapositions poked fun at the absence of God, or described life inside a police state. On occasion Rohrer captures not just their humor but their urgency. Much of the volume, however, ends up so committed to its self-conscious stance that the poems have time for little else: with lines like "I want to be an interesting story/ none of you really remembers," they're less Tomasz Salamun than David Letterman. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780972348775
  • Publisher: Wave Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2004
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,417,776
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Matthew Rohrer was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and grew up in Oklahoma. He attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop, University College Dublin, and the University of Michigan, where he won the Avery Hopwood Award for poetry. His first book, A Hummock in the Malookas, was a winner of the National Poetry Series and chosen as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1995. Mary Oliver called his work "beautiful and disquieting," and Harvard Review notes that his poems are "everywhere marked by freshness and originality." He has appeared on NPR's All Things Considered - The Book Show, and is a poetry editor of Fence.
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Table of Contents

My Soup 1
I hail from the bottom of the sea, the land of eternal darkness 2
The adorable little boy 3
Disquisition on trees 4
C 5
MK ULTRA 7
Homage to Attila Joszef 20
Homage to John Yau 22
Abbot 23
Happy birthday 24
Cloud walk I 25
Cloud walk II 26
Cloud walk III 27
The man who taught Matt Rohrer how to write 28
Poem for Theodore 28
Emu of wonder 31
Dog Boy 32
Disagreeable object (homage to John Yau) 34
Dream of a new patriotism 35
Forest Haiku 36
Second poem for Theodore 40
Seven 41
Hone Quarry 43
Catechism 60
Summer Saturday morning 62
Poem for Underdog 63
Quilt 64
The great submarine race 65
Ski lift to death! 65
Ancient Chinese war 67
Mongolian death worm 68
Statue of a white pig bleeding from the eyes 70
We never should have stopped at Pussy Island 72
Winged snake found on a path 75
Like a sausage 76
Morning glory on the roof 77
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