SLIPPERS FOR ELSEWHERE
UpSet Press, January 2014
Matthew Burgess has a sharp ear, a tender eye, no sympathy for humorlessness, and a swift hand with enjambment. He knows how to end a line—with a bang, or a tease, or a curve. Amid these swerves, an air of insouciant recklessness mingles with a wistful fondness for misfits, for errant paths, for the eroticism of everything that's lost, faded, remote, and wrecked. Burgess holds his beguiling "I" in check by wit, dazzling splices, and flirtatious evasiveness. A phrase like "a collage of phalluses / to squeegee before father returns" sets my internal thermostat to a temperature resembling joy.
– Wayne Koestenbaum
These poems are possessed of a perfect heart, their measure always gushing forth to float the next incredible image, “before you make up your mind it drifts off to ascend the Alhambra's turrets and finger pink Moorish reliefs.” The colors rise to the utmost surface of the language. They sometimes harden to form a designer diorama or time machine. The poet and reader become trembling silhouettes let loose (in cahoots) darting out from under their respective stage lights. All of this action is tailored to a very lived in (to die for) tone of voice. The winds are lifted and love is a shelter.
– Cedar Sigo
Matthew Burgess is a gifted poet, but he's also a gift-giver. These poems make the romance of childhood absolutely tangible and they remind us that around every corner of the drama of sentient existence there lurks pure glee.
And I, you. And your little dog, too. Hello he. Dude. You know who. The music of direct interpellation, the shorthand speech that binds us—dares, avowals, threats, salutes, express permissions—is frequently the music of Matthew Burgess's Slippers for Elsewhere, a book that promises from adulthood it gets better, kid. This is a Manhattan Bound Q Train. That fast and fleet, that communal, that public, with transfers often to the local. The city, and so the broader world, awakens, phototropic, in this poet's running regard for it, bright, benedictory, dear, and keen.
Links and Reviews
“These poems are play and pop and joy. Burgess makes plastic emote. You would think he learned language yesterday, he likes it so much. He twists words till they gleam new and makes the people in his poems shine too.” Sheila Maldonado chose Slippers as one of Aster(ix) Our Favorite Poetry Picks of 2014. READ HERE
I'm honored that LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs chose Slippers for Elsewhere as one of her Best Books of 2014. Check it out at The Volta. Woah.
Lara Mimosa Rodriguez reviews Slippers for The Lit Pub.
Valerie Stivers-Isakova includes Slippers on her list of Small Press Books to Watch in 2014 (AWP Edition) at Huffington Post
Ryan Skrabalak reviews Slippers for Elsewhere for Tottenville Review