Slippers for Elsewhere


Poems by Matthew J. Burgess
978-1-937357-90-0 (paper)
January 2013


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“And I, you. And your little dog, too. Hello he. Dude. You know who. The music of direct interpellation, the shorthand speech that binds us–dares, avowals, threats, salutes, express permissions–is frequently the music of Matthew Burgess’s Slippers for Elsewhere, a book that promises from adulthood it gets better, kid. This is a Manhattan Bound Q Train. That fast and fleet, that communal, that public, with transfers often to the local. The city, and so the broader world, awakens, phototropic, in this poet’s running regard for it, bright, benedictory, dear, and keen.”
—Brian Blanchfield
“Matthew Burgess has a sharp ear, a tender eye, no sympathy for humorlessness, and a swift hand with enjambment. He knows how to end a line—with a bang, or a tease, or a curve. Amid these swerves, an air of insouciant recklessness mingles with a wistful fondness for misfits, for errant paths, for the eroticism of everything that’s lost, faded, remote, and wrecked. Burgess holds his beguiling “I” in check by wit, dazzling splices, and flirtatious evasiveness. A phrase like ‘a collage of phalluses / to squeegee before father returns’ sets my internal thermostat to a temperature resembling joy.”
—Wayne Koestenbaum
“These poems are possessed of a perfect heart, their measure always gushing forth to float the next incredible image, ‘before you make up your mind it drifts off to ascend the Alhambra’s turrets and finger pink Moorish reliefs.’ The colors rise to the utmost surface of the language. They sometimes harden to form a designer diorama or time machine. The poet and reader become trembling silhouettes let loose (in cahoots) darting out from under their respective stage lights. All of this action is tailored to a very lived in (to die for) tone of voice. The winds are lifted and love is a shelter.”
—Cedar Sigo

Matthew Burgess teaches creative writing and composition at Brooklyn College. He has been a poet-in-residence in New York City elementary schools through Teachers & Writers Collaborative since 2001, and currently he is completing his PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center. His work has appeared in various magazines and journals, and he recently received an award from the Fund for Poetry.

Distributed for UpSet Press.