by Matt Mason
Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2013
Or order from your favorite local bookstore or from Amazon.com
The Baby That Ate Cincinnati is a collection of poems about parenthood. And horror movies. It’s about that other side of things, the bit with the wonder and the magic as well as the terror of trying to redefine yourself and your place in the universe with what is really a very strange and monumental change in who you are, what you do, and what you truly fear. Ultimately, you know, it’s life affirming, just like all classic scary movies, by the time the credits roll.
Quotes about The Baby That Ate Cincinnati:
With this rollicking, compassionate and tender take on all things fatherhood, Matt Mason plucks daddy from the backdrop and grants us full access to the heart on his sleeve. Nimbly crafted and threaded with irrepressible insight and humor, these poems sidestep predictable sentiment in favor of the revelatory, awed and vaguely obsessive musings of “the other parent.”
-Patricia Smith, National Book Award Finalist for Blood Dazzler
In The Baby That Ate Cincinnati, Matt Mason gifts us with the shock and awe of becoming a first-time parent. We experience the exhaustion, introspection, and reality of making life out of chaos in these masterfully crafted poems, ranging from the hyperbolic and hilarious (“thunder infant,” “she has come to eat your brains”) to the tender and lyrical (“I would carry this child/ on bare feet if I had to, I would/ keep the wind from touching her” and in “Happily Ever After”). Entertaining and always engaging, Mason’s poems overwhelmingly celebrate the ages-old and universal language known as love.
-Twyla Hansen, winner of the Nebraska Book Award for Stone Soup
Matt Mason’s latest collection deals, for a change, with the male’s side of birthing and raising children, including a clear-eyed look at the non-cuddly moments. Hence the title. But it also provides a compelling view of parenthood’s bestowals, in which the newborn’s gaze at a ceiling water-stain teaches the father that “there’s no difference between it and Cortez’s Cities of Gold.” Mason’s refreshing sense of married love’s “happily ever after” comes when “you realize/slipping past the troll,/turning the ghost to stone/was nothing/compared not/to how you came together/but to how/you managed/to stay.” The Baby that Ate Cincinnati is the work of a gifted poet with a big heart and infallible wit.
-William Trowbridge, Missouri State Poet and author of Ship of Fool
The Baby That Ate Cincinnati is not the typical book of poems on birth, breastfeeding, and the crucifix some of us are taught to admire. We trace the humor in this book with lime dust thrown over the bodies of Mozart and Robert Johnson. Matt Mason knows well that most fathers hold their tongues and fists. Some do not. We have the aleatory nightmare on each page of this turbulent book. We have love poems dressed in barbed wire.
-Charles Fort, author of We Did Not Fear The Father
Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know
by Matt Mason
The Backwaters Press, April 2006
Mason’s first full-length collection debuted at Number 12 on the May 28th poetryfoundation.org poetry best sellers list, between Ted Kooser and Mary Oliver!
Quotes about Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know:
“The only thing better than reading these poems is to hear Matt Mason himself read them.”
–Marjorie Saiser, author of Bones of a Very Fine Hand
“Matt Mason must be declared the poet laureate of the Midwest! No other native son celebrates the overlooked America, its unsung citizens (from the anonymous poets to the part-time English teachers), and its expansive indigenous landscape, as well as he does. Mason’s poetry is humorous when he wants to be quirky, heartbreaking when he wants to be eloquent, and though he moves effortlessly into other moods and geographies, he always returns to his first and most enduring love (and to what he knows best)-his homeland.”
–Rigoberto Gonzalez, author of So Often The Pitcher Goes to Water Before It Breaks
“Although Mason takes his title from Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s nonclarification of U.S. policy regarding “the war on terror,” this exuberant poet helps us to see clearly a cornucopia of things we too often forget we know. Whether turning his attention to kiwifruit, Wild Kingdom’s Marlin Perkins, the Strategic Air Command Museum, or lovers who with luck may come to resemble a no-expiration-date snack cake, Mason sheds some of his Nebraskan light on our universally human proceedings. And anyone who can actually say, for the poem-record, “I believe that aliens built the Pyramids, Stonehenge, / and most of my ex-girlfriends” surely knows, by heart, a few more things we only think we may be better off not knowing.”
–David Clewell, author of Now We’re Getting Somewhere and The Low End of Higher Things
When The Bough Breaks
by Matt Mason
Lone Willow Press, 2005
A collection of poems written over the past fourteen years about Matt’s father’s death.
Quotes about When The Bough Breaks:
“Mason is a poet readers trust. He pulls us in with poems that are precise, moving, disturbing, and consoling.”
–Denise Duhamel, author of Queen for a Day
“…powerful, self-searching poems…”
–William Kloefkorn, Nebraska State Poet.
“Matt Mason is one of a handful of writers in any genre who’s made me laugh till I cried and then, a heartbeat or two later, moved me to weep, not for the losses we inevitably suffer, but at the courage we necessarily muster to travel beyond our grief.”
–J.V. Brummels, author of Cheyenne Line.
“…fresh and original in sensibility.”
–Tom Snyder, author of Two Dogs and a Cigar”.
Make Star Love, Not Star Wars
Poems by Matt Mason, Illustrations by Dave Neitzke
Morpo Press, 2008
A Poetry Comic Book about love, Star Wars, all the classic themes… including, of course, a poetry trilogy…
by Matt Mason
Morpo Press, 2003
It’s 3 chapbooks in one, featuring many of the more popular Poetry Slam poems like “The Good News” (AKA: “Jesus”), “Definitive: Vermont,” and “Masturbation.”
by Matt Mason
New Michigan Press, 2002
“…Mistranslating Neruda is Matt Mason’s homage to Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Not only does Mason mimic the sequence in length, but he also tries duplicating the inventive use of language: Like angel hair pasta waving goodbye to the boiling water, / the sausages from the refrigerator fly into your hands. // Innumerable hearts of the sausage / fortify inside the rare silences of young love. Equally emblematic for the rest of the sequence, Mason writes, early on: Body of a woman, white as flour, as egg whites, / you break into the world with the immediacy of warm cookies. Lines like these make Mason’s chapbook a hoot to read. While he actively tries to mimic Neruda, to “mistranslate” him, Mason’s own sense of absurdity takes off, pulling the reader along. These poems also display the depths of Mason’s imagination, but do they stand up to the master inspiring them? No, but they weren’t intended to, either. In his preface, Mason claims everybody has read a horrible act of translation, be it in high school English texts or elsewhere, and this chapbook was to be a satire on “mistranslations.” That doesn’t change the joy of language Mason revels in, and to this collection, that’s a gift.” –Rich Ristow, from https://richristow.wordpress.com/tag/mistranslating-neruda/
Purposely off translations of Neruda’s Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Cancion Desesperada.
Read a review at Main Street Rag and The Reader. Read a poem at Verse Daily.