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‘All-American’ poet favors unpublished words

Poet Matthew Dickman delved into the somber and humorous at the College Monday, Oct. 11 as a part of the Visiting Writer Series sponsored by ink.

A small group of students and faculty gathered to listen to the poet read from his most recent book “All-American Poem” as well as a few poems that were newly composed.

Some were already slightly familiar with his name, as his twin brother Michael is an adjunct professor who teaches here at the College.

The quirky poet began with a series of elegies written after his older brother Darren passed away. His dark musings mourning the loss of someone close to him were powerfully delivered through imagery and narrative style.

After apologizing for depressing the crowd, Dickman smiled and cracked multiple jokes to lighten the mood before reading a set of poems that drew on his observations from his current residency in Seattle, Washington.

“These are about sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll … kinda,” he joked before reciting “Bridge,” a poem about a run-in with two drunk girls sitting on a bridge near his house one evening.

While the poet opted to read his non-published works, he promised that his last set would be excerpts from “All-American Poem.” These were also well received by the audience, especially “V,” a humorous tale of his thoughts about a girl who wore a shirt saying “Talk Nerdy To Me.” In “Dear Space,” Dickman mused about wanting to be a superhero for a girl. While it stressed feelings of love and desire, listeners couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of an invisibility suit made of tin foil and plastic wrap.

Dickman opened the floor for questions in the final minutes of the reading, and informed the audience that he was working on a new manuscript for another book sometime next year.

Before leaving, he told the audience one last important lesson for anyone who was single.

His careful instructions were to get the poem ‘‘Having a Coke with You’’ by Frank O’Hara, then buy two cans of Coke and place them and the poem on the doorstep of the one admired. After knocking on the door, run away and hide, but still be nearby once the person reads the poem.

“I hadn’t heard of Matthew Dickman before he came here, but I really liked the honesty of his poems and the fact that none of his metaphors were cliché,” said Christine DeVito, freshman journalism major.

Ink’s next event is a Halloween Coffeehouse tonight in Bliss Lounge beginning at 8 p.m. The event was co-sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta and Lion’s Eye.


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