poem index


Matthew Thorburn

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Matthew Thorburn

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.

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


by this poet

Everything is made of shapes
made of loops and lines
Mother said and
my life began to unravel

the string of the world
running out of my pencil
she taught me to hold on
fingers’ pressure

against wood could blur
lead to shadow show
the slow darkening
a candle’s flicker making

strange angles of her face
she said
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

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