Matthew Dickman's Wonderland reads almost like flash fiction. His poems tell a story; he writes about family, friends, bullies, parents, girlfriends, confrontations, conversations, fights, play, and moods — all "in the queasy Southeast Portland light." A lovely little encapsulation of growing up on the seedy side of Portland in the 1980s. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Luminous and hypnotic, this dynamic collection explores the dark edges of childhood, violence, race, class, and masculinity, by one of the most fearless poets of his generation.
"Known for poems of universality of feeling, expressive lyricism of reflection, and heartrending allure" (Major Jackson), award-winning poet Matthew Dickman returns with a collection that engages the traces of his own living past, suffusing these poems with ghosts of longing, shame, and vulnerability. In the southeast Portland neighborhood of Dickman’s youth, parents are out of control and children are in chaos. With grief, anger, and, ultimately, understanding, Dickman confronts a childhood of ambient violence, well-intentioned but warped family relations, confining definitions of identity, and the deprivation of this particular Portland neighborhood in the 1980s.
Wonderland reminds us that, while these neighborhoods are filled with guns, skateboards, fights, booze, and heroin, and home to punk rockers, skinheads, poor kids, and single moms, they are also places of innocence and love.
"A wonderful new poetic voice writing warm and cozy visions of old Portland, Oregon. I loved it." Gus Van Sant, Academy Award–nominated filmmaker
"With Wonderland, Matthew Dickman captures the vicissitudes of childhood: the mess and wildness of it all, how we are both held and discarded, the way darkness subsumes the glow and vice versa. Dickman’s poems are deft and sparkling and never cease to tear into you with their profound rawness and beauty." Carrie Brownstein, star of Portlandia and author of Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl
"There is an unabashed rapture to these poems about ordinary American life in the analog age. How astounding, and how perfectly troubling, to be led through this fearsome, familiar realm of choked silences and violent collisions by an intelligence as deft and buoyant as Matthew Dickman’s." Tracy K. Smith, United States Poet Laureate
About the Author
Matthew Dickman is the author of Mayakovsky’s Revolver and All-American Poem, winner of the May Sarton award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the coauthor with Michael Dickman of 50 American Plays and Brother. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his two sons and partner.
Matthew Dickman on PowellsBooks.Blog
Compiled here is a memory/dream guide to the first books of poems that I fell in love with, books that taught me something beyond the single-minded lessons of a particular neighborhood in a particular time. In my mind, the neighborhood of Lents was full of family, rain, and beauty, but also ambient violence and anger...