By Matthew Rohrer
Publication Date: April 1, 2011
ISBN# 9781933517506 (5.5x9 96pp, paperback and limited edition hardcover)
The governance of fear will be checked by love.
Griffin Poetry Prize finalist Matthew Rohrer illuminates the modern plight: how to be a thoughtful citizen, parent, and person as the landscape of terror and history worms its way into our everyday existence. Unnervingly humorous, casual, and tender, Rohrer’s poems help us investigate our lives as he investigates his—openly and with a generous presence.
Though raggedly honest in his hopelessness, [Rohrer] nonetheless strives, by technical means, to mend what is broken...his choicest songs uniquely navigate the competing commitments of solitude and community and enact the difficulties and pleasures of creating home in oneself and in the world.
Joshua Wilson, Boston Review
Destroyer and Preserver struggles heroically with the need for concentration & revelation against a field of distraction & shattered perceptions. Rohrer has written with such tender affection–for people, for places, for the very ability to feel & think–that each poem feels weighted with equal parts nostalgia & hope.
Nate Pritts, Coldfront
Matthew Rohrer meshes, welds and bolts together phrases and sentences with precision and daring. He also allows his gift, the triple-threat of cleverness, humor and wit, to lead him to deeper and more mature and complex subject matter.
Steve Langan, Sugar House Review
When Rohrer’s unpunctuated, paratactic style works, it works brilliantly; when he falters, it is a faltering born of a new sincerity the world (of which readers are a part) renders suspect, as a form of (good-natured) vice. These poems—and the oeuvre of this poet—deserve careful readings, and re-readings, to train ourselves to perform John Cage’s ironic challenge: to see what it is we’re looking at, and to feel what it is (if anything) we feel.
Virginia Konchan, The Rumpus
Rohrer writes poems that crackle and sputter, often branching toward new meaning and emotion within the span of a single line, as in the book’s opening poem, where the universe/ is a long sentence/ according to our instruments/ the oldest songs are/ breaking apart.” If the poems sometimes elevate the mundane in a way that is difficult to trust...they also demonstrate a closeness to their emotional and political urgency...that is rare in contemporary poetry.
Matthew Rohrer is the author of The Sky Contains the Plans (Wave Books, forthcoming 2020), The Others (Wave Books, 2017), which was the winner of the 2017 Believer Book Award, 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) and A Green Light (Verse Press, 2004), which was shortlisted for the 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize. He is also the author of Satellite (Verse Press, 2001), and co-author, with Joshua Beckman, of Nice Hat. Thanks. (Verse Press, 2002), and the audio CD Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty. He has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and The Next Big Thing. His first book, A Hummock in the Malookas was selected for the National Poetry Series by Mary Oliver in 1994. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches at NYU.
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