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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.


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)

Moss Retains Moisture

I never believed in bioluminescence before. 
Here in Moravia where all daylight hides 
the only illumination is whiskey. 
Names seem unimportant. 
Large are the memories growing elsewhere 
beneath themselves. 
Do hemlocks burn when stared at? 
Darkness always retains something shapely. 
Those leaves engender me. 
Bedding down in pine-covered nighttime 
I disappeared. Owls are silent. 
Bears rest. In Moravian mythology 
even I sleep well. 

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

She sends me a text

she's coming home

the train emerges

from underground

I light the fire under

the pot, I pour her

a glass of wine

I fold a napkin under

a little fork

the wind blows the rain

into the windows

the emperor himself

is not this happy

There is absolutely nothing lonelier
than the little Mars rover
never shutting down, digging up
rocks, so far away from Bond street
in a light rain. I wonder
if he makes little beeps? If so
he is lonelier still. He fires a laser
into the dust. He coughs. A shiny
thing in the


Nothing is more important to the ant
whose exoskeleton has been breached
by mushroom spores that are now
controlling his nervous system
and compelling him to climb to a high leaf
only to die and release the spores
over the whole forest
than this poem about his sad plight.