Our Latest in Folktales

Our Latest in Folktales

by Matthew Gwathmey

NOOK Book(eBook)

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Poems of serious wordplay—an affirmation and celebration of the spectacles we make of our lives. On-stage in Matthew Gwathmey’s debut collection are agitated 19th century horsemen, 80s comic book beetles, plaid-clad suburban grunge enthusiasts, Korean aunts turned traffic cops, Parisian mimes—in short, “a multitude of horns.” Meanwhile, the “understories,” the sub-spectacles of these poems, are the everyday trials and thrills of marriage and family, the search for meaningful love and friendship, and the palpable relief at being able to perform not as a primary character in the cultural narrative, but as a member of an elemental audience, as “water/ at the bottom of the wind.” Working a hand-mixer in one hand and a spade in the other, Gwathmey writes formally accomplished, linguistically playful poems with deep roots. He couples an implicit understanding of the stories passed down to us as necessary blueprints, with an occasionally nihilistic (in the spirit of the modernists) and occasionally giddy (in the spirit of the New York School) pull toward embellishment and reinvention, making these folktales rhythmic, humorous, and full of unexpected turns.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781771314985
Publisher: Brick Books
Publication date: 01/04/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Matthew Gwathmey was born in Richmond, Virginia and studied creative writing at the University of Virginia. His poems have appeared in Grain Magazine, Crazyhorse, Prairie Fire, The Iowa Review, and other literary magazines. He became a Canadian citizen in 2013 and lives with his wife and children in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he is a PhD student at UNB. He also works at The Learning Bar on the Confident Learners Program, a literacy program created with First Nations schools across Canada. This is his first book.

Read an Excerpt

At Arcadia Dump, Later On

We meet a shepherd among a trail of discarded electronics, staff assembled out of PVC pipe. Impressive, his change from a parabola of methane to a camber of mercury, summing up the whole landfill season that stretched before us. When I started, he says, I had everything I needed in the cloud. The smell of sulfur caught in the art of natural selection—a breezy genetic drift. We watch a few beady-eyed sheep play off the dumping ground (darting noses, probing hooves against the slag heap edge, wool newly wet). Avian swimmers dodge steam-powered waves. Country folk dressed in hazmat suits search the undershow, snoop through garbage bags. At a yelp they huddle to marvel at a crunched statistic or a shiny zippo. The siren signals the next level of hide ye mouse and seek ye cat. Soon, the falling sky will be so close at hand.

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