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Matthew Rohrer’s most recently published work is A Green Light (2004) the book for which he has been named to the International shortlist for this year’s Griffin Poetry Prize. He is the author of A Hummock in the Malookas (1994) the winner of the National Poetry Series, and Satellite (2001), Nice Hat. Thanks. (2002, with Joshua Beckman), and the audio CD Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty (2003, also with Joshua Beckman). Rohrer has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered – The Book Show, and his poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies and have been translated into Slovenian, Finnish and Portuguese.

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and raised in Oklahoma, Rohrer won a Hopwood Award for Poetry and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Poetry while at the University of Iowa. Presently living in Brooklyn, New York, Rohrer is the Poetry Editor for Fence.

A Green Light

Verse Press
2005 Shortlist
United States

Judges’ Citation

With jumpy verve, Rohrer’s green-lit poems lay bare an anxiety of influence, social and linguistic, and present us the sideways view of the world of a young American not able to assume the mantle of hero, not able to be ‘the adorable boy’.

With jumpy verve, Rohrer’s green-lit poems lay bare an anxiety of influence, social and linguistic, and present us the sideways view of the world of a young American not able to assume the mantle of hero, not able to be ‘the adorable boy’. In the midst of what could be, in other hands, wreckage or hopelessness, Rohrer’s poems run up the banner of hopefulness, create complete poems out of incomplete thoughts. Rohrer has an enchanting willingness to look outward, a willingness not to grasp the world using old means which have failed us, even if no new means present themselves ready-made – no wonder jumpiness is in our very condition. There is, too, a current of sadness that his lines and words buck even as they convey; yet the grief they carry does not bear us downward. This is a book with an edge, a book of brash clamour and hard-earned joy.