I admit that I check the awards lists in search of new poets. In this case, I’m glad I did. While the subject of many of his poems – a brother’s suicide – is sometimes overwhelming, Rasmussen’s style is a marvel. Short lines, meaningful enjambment and synesthesia create a poignancy that will leave you breathless. A somewhat random example:

A boat unzips the river / between the houses pinned / to their long shadows.

 

And the order is meaningful. Rasmussen makes one last effort to reclaim what I am assuming is his brother’s life in “Reverse Suicide” (“a bullet in your mouth / You spit it into Dad’s gun”) before he can find an unsettling kind of acceptance in the final poem, “A Horse Grazes in My Shadow” –

I wish the god of this place / would put me in its mouth / until I dissolve

 

How can you fail to notice the use of the word ‘mouth’ in each poem and the connection between them?

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/projects/2011/writing-minnesota/matt-rasmussen/

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