Matthew Dickman


What is it about Matthew Dickman.  Stole my heart again, putting words to the carnal. He makes me want to enter a fierce chess-board chase of to-the-death love.  Eye-on-the-prize love, where nothing else has a luster. That kind of love that English cannot describe, yet, Dickman does an eloquent job putting the six words for love in French into a sweet, sweet lexicon of the passionate. His language describe a Bukowski-esque lust for women– the kind most women hate to love– the yearning to be barked at. To have all the beautiful things of Sappho’s shrine, female things, MY things, the lovely things, the base of the spine, the nape of the neck, the way the hair curls when salt water crusts beneath the hot summer sun in a brand new bikini, to be worshiped in the words of the crude. Yet, his words never stray, there is nothing short of that kiss…the one on the ear…a soliloquy straight from the heart– straight from an unshaven early sunrise “good morning” with unkempt hair and coffee on a porch with the sprinklers rolling. Dickman, so graphically descriptive in the words of the modern, as you may remember from his ‘Slowdance’, “More than putting another man on the moon, more than a New Year’s resolution of yogurt and yoga, we need the opportunity to dance with really exquisite strangers…” draws you in with the first drop of the lure. Conveying merely the “small things” of a hard, hard lust, he’s got you, and the relationship unfolds as the poems, unexhaustingly verbose, tangentially floats into a sweet love that feels like years of the familiar. A lust that leads to an inexpressible and endless love, which we arrive at through commentary of the exclusively physical. Reading this made me remember the youthful constant that keeps us young through our gradual loss to gravity– the static — that we live for. The following poem can be found in the August 29, 2011 edition of The New Yorker, page 58.


Poet Spotlight: Matthew Dickman Reading “Slow Dance”

“[Matthew Dickman] knows something about the sorrow of this world, its call for a kind of toughness of spirit and a sensitivity that must go underground if one is to survive and, more importantly here, the violence that such poverty recreates and echoes in the lives of the dispossessed…But it is his artfulness and large spirit, telescoping without sentimentality the single outlook of a speaker who has escaped such conditions and now looks back, as bluesy as such projects go, that gives his poems a universality of feeling, an expressive lyricism of reflection, and heartrending allure.” -Major Jackson

Matthew Dickman (born 1975, Portland) is an American Poet. Dickman received his bachelors at the University of Oregon his first book, All American Poem received the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize in Poetry in 2008. His work, though seemingly simplistic, is comically relatable and beautifully heartfelt.

Other stuff including “Self-Portrait with Sadness, Wild Turkey, and Denis Johnson” can be found here: