"Matthew Olzmann's poetry is that rare thing that embraces complication while, at every turn, filling us with wonder. Contradictions in the Design incorporates 'patterns among celestial bodies, the mysteries of Christ, X + Y, crossword puzzles, free will,' but also the playfulness and oddities of life that allow us to laugh hardest at ourselves. Desire, Supervillains, Moby, and 'the idea of Moby': prepare yourself to be dazzled."C. Dale Young
These political poems employ humor to challenge the cultural norms of American society, focusing primarily on racism, social injustices and inequality. Simultaneously, the poems take on a deeper, personal level as it carefully deconstructs identity and the human experience, piecing them together with unflinching logic and wit. Olzmann takes readers on a surreal exploration of discovery and self-evaluation.
From: "Elegy Where Small Towns Are Obscured By Mountains":
There are all kinds
of stories eaten by history and silence
and neglect. Above a door, something stirs
the chimes, and reminds someone inside
that where there is wind: a song,
however faint. A man hears it, and passes
through a screen door into a night of fireflies.
He looks around as if called by a voice.
The wind has passed. The chimes are quiet.
Matthew Olzmann's first book of poems, Mezzanines, received the 2011 Kundiman Prize and was published by Alice James Books. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in New England Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry Northwest, the Southern Review, Forklift, Ohio , and elsewhere. Currently, he is a visiting professor of Creative Writing in the undergraduate writing program at Warren Wilson College and co-editor of the Collagist.