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About this poet

Matthew Thorburn was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan. He received a BA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from The New School.

Thorburn is the author of Dear Almost (Louisiana State University Press, 2016), This Time Tomorrow (Waywiser, 2013), Every Possible Blue (WordTech Communications, 2012), and Subject To Change (New Issues, 2004).

The poet Al Maginnes writes, “Thorburn finds room for food and prayer, for work and love, for keen observation of the twin worlds we inhabit, the one inside us and the one where our daily lives take place.”

Thorburn is a recipient of the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress. He works in corporate communications and lives in New York City.


Bibliography
Dear Almost (Louisiana State University Press, 2016)
This Time Tomorrow (Waywiser, 2013)
Every Possible Blue (WordTech Communications, 2012)
Subject To Change (New Issues, 2004)

 

Childhood Music

Old Schmidt clacks
two sticks to tell
his sheep it’s time for bed
he smells like a barn

Mother says blue overalls
always muddy always
something filthy
in his hands a hoe or rake

a snake a dead bird
a wiry dog trots alongside
dirty as he is
tin bell around its neck

so weird familiar music
comes drifting back
bark jingle mutter clack
and fades away

they were a little family
it’s true it’s time
he calls time to go back
over the hill into the barn

where he did sometimes
drowse beside them
where he was happiest
there in the dry hay

the sagging gray barn
they locked up they
burned down one night
all the sheep inside.

Copyright © 2019 Matthew Thorburn. This poem originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, Winter & Spring 2019. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2019 Matthew Thorburn. This poem originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, Winter & Spring 2019. Used with permission of the author.

Matthew Thorburn

Matthew Thorburn

Matthew Thorburn is the author of Dear Almost (Louisiana State University Press, 2016). He lives in New York City.

by this poet

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The lead dog was called Gandy.
If he didn't go, nobody
did. Jannick the musher
was Danish. I almost didn't catch
his name. It was so windy
and the wind was so loud.
"Yah! Gandy, yah!" he sang out.
Also whistled and clicked
his tongue. He stood on skis and slid
along

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The amazing thing is not
that geese can get sucked
into an Airbus engine
and cause it to conk out
or that a pilot can tell air

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Dusk in August—
which means nearly
nine o’clock here, deep
in the heart of central
Jersey—and the deer
step out to graze
the backyards. They tear
each yellowy red
tulip cup, munch up
rhododendrons
and azaleas. Fifty
years of new houses
have eaten into

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