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About this poet

In 1970, Matthew Rohrer was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and raised in Oklahoma. He earned a BA from the University of Michigan, where he won a Hopwood Award for poetry, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry from the University of Iowa.

Rohrer's poetry collections include Surrounded by Friends (Wave Books, 2015), Destroyer and Preserver (Wave Books, 2011), A Plate of Chicken (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009), Rise Up (Wave Books, 2007), A Green Light (Verse Press, 2004), Satellite (Wave Books, 2001), and A Hummock in the Malookas (W. W. Norton, 1995), which was selected by Mary Oliver for the 1994 National Poetry Series. With Joshua Beckman, he is coauthor of Nice Hat. Thanks. (Verse Press, 2002) and the audio CD Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty.

He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches at New York University.


Bibliography

Surrounded by Friends (Wave Books, 2015)
Destroyer and Preserver (Wave Books, 2011)
A Plate of Chicken (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009)
Rise Up (Wave Books, 2007)
A Green Light (Verse Press, 2004)
Satellite (Wave Books, 2001)
A Hummock in the Malookas (W. W. Norton, 1995)

Monkeys

In another jungle the monkeys fret. 
Vibrations are tremendous. 
Terror begins. 
Mist dissipates. 
Monkeys alight in unison 
while beneath them nothing sexy happens. 
From within one mangrove a monkey flutters helplessly, 
another watches. 
Noise like refined alabaster drifts across our monkeys. 
Human intellect dwarfs only that first tear. 
Everything else excels. 
Intellect is nothing to savor. 
Monkeys know. 
Monkeys see. 
Monkeys do. 
As monkeys follow nauseated foresters 
across wet walkways they announce their intentions. 
Mankind savors variety. 
Monkeys savor mankind. 
Poachers came and grabbed the monkeys. 
In disturbing circumstances they thrive. 
Our satellites saw lilacs. 
Nighttime. 
No one wanders forever.

From Nice Hat. Thanks. copyright © 2002 by Joshua Beckman and Matthew Rohrer. Reprinted by permission of Wave Books.

From Nice Hat. Thanks. copyright © 2002 by Joshua Beckman and Matthew Rohrer. Reprinted by permission of Wave Books.

Matthew Rohrer

Matthew Rohrer

Born in 1970, Matthew Rohrer is the author of several poetry collections, including Surrounded by Friends (Wave Books, 2015), Rise Up (Wave Books, 2007), and A Hummock in the Malookas, which was selected by Mary Oliver for the 1994 National Poetry Series. 

by this poet

poem
You called, you're on the train, on Sunday,
I have just taken a shower and await
you. Clouds are slipping in off the ocean,
but the room is gently lit by the green
shirt you gave me. I have been practicing
a new way to say hello and it is fantastic.
You were so sad: goodbye. I was so sad.
All the shops were
poem

In the middle garden is the secret wedding,
that hides always under the other one
and under the shiny things of the other one. Under a tree
one hand reaches through the grainy dusk toward another.
Two right hands. The ring is a weed that will surely die.

There is no one else for miles,

poem
Then there was the night I decided that if I ignored everyone
I would transcend,

so I covered my ears with my hands,
stepped off the porch and rose like a wet crow

and the sprinklers chattered to each other over the fences.
And "How long will you be gone?" my neighbor called nervously,
my neighbor whose saw I