Matt Morton’s poetry has appeared in AGNI, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, Tin House Online, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of an Owen Scholars Fellowship from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, the Carol Houck Smith Scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the John Hollander Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and a Robert B. Toulouse Fellowship from the University of North Texas, where he is currently pursuing a PhD in English.
For me, beginning work on my second poetry manuscript has been a time of uncertainty. I moved from Baltimore to Texas, began a PhD in English, and found myself unsure about the value of my writing. These periods of uncertainty are often fruitful; they can culminate in self-discovery and redefinition. But for that to happen, there needs to be confidence. Receiving the NEA fellowship at this particular moment has provided me with invaluable affirmation, with a sense of connection to a community. I feel grateful and energized, with a renewed sense of faith that my poetry can matter to others.
"Pinwheel Floating On Water"
There is a feeling you may attach to the experience
of sunbathing. Of watching a landmark go up in flames.
Perhaps it is a question of tone, like the various forms
a snowflake may assume as it falls apart in your hand.
Paper lantern, silver dollar. Betrayed by his father,
the boy dumps his box of marbles down a storm drain.
Bluebonnets overwhelm an overpass. A charred field, a
swan. For years, the smell of vanilla may remind you of
a large hole in the earth. Little far-flung black star.
Is it just me or is there something about riding a train.
Ever since you were a child. You will store his ashes
inside a stoppered flute. I have nothing more to say
on the subject of disappearing. Bright light, white light.
It is the dead of winter, it is strawberry season. Here, sit
down with us. We are waiting for the show to begin.
(originally appeared in Indiana Review)