Issue 86: Matthew Lippman


About Matthew Lippman

Matthew Lippman is the author of 6 poetry collections: Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful, winner of the 2018 Levis Prize, Four Way Books, to be published in 2020, A Little Gut Magic, Nine Mile Books, 2018, Salami Jew, Racing Form Press, 2014, American Chew, winner of the Burnside Review Book Prize, Burnside Book Press, 2013, Monkey Bars, Typecast Publishing, 2010, and The New Year of Yellow, winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize, Sarabande Book, 2007; finalist for the 2008 Patterson Poetry Prize. He has also been awarded the Levis Prize (Four Way Books), the Anna Davidson Poetry Prize, the Georgetown Review Magazine Prize, the Jerome J. Shestak Poetry Prize from The American Poetry Review, the Michener Fellowship in Poetry, the New York State Foundation of The Arts Grant, and more. (

A Profile of the Author

Notes on “Flew It All Around”

Like most of my poems, it’s the little things that get me going. My daughter messed up my hair one morning. When she was doing it, in the moment, it felt like a little annoyance but once I let go into the tussle, it was lovely and whimsical. That’s where the poem came from. The lovely and the whimsical. Just that little experience. The bubbly nature of that moment. I am always looking to turn those tiny things into little poignant poetic narratives that somehow speak to larger terrains, movements. It’s also important to me to have some kind of sweetness and hope in a poem. So, that’s the reason for the lines, “That we all can wake up and have someone come upstairs to fuck up/our hair/for fun.” Getting to the world outside the self. That’s the turn, the surprise, in the poem. There has to be a surprise for me, a place where things can get a little dark, rough, raw, and edgy. The sweetness/tenderness is important but then so is the hard stuff. That is reason for the end, that last line: the sun that “smashes our face to pieces.” Because it’s both, this living, and there has to be both in a poem or else you are just writing postcards and postcards are wonderful but, for me, they are not enough. There has to be some kind of rumble that makes the reader turn their head and go, “Uh-oh.”

Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

Quarantine has been rough but it’s been a great place, space, to listen to music and I love
music. I have been setting my ears and heart ablaze with Phoebe Bridgers, Kamasi Washington, Robohands, Aaron Parks, Talib Kweli, Yussef Dayes, Joan Armatrading, Brian Eno, Makaya McCraven, and Robert Glasper. All the while I have benn perfecting the art of baking homemade Challah and hanging out with the cat, a Siberian, named Sammy, on the front porch. The front porch has been my refuge. I will spend hours out there in my plastic Adirondack chair with a cold beverage, watch the cars and people, the sky, write, read, nap, as one day morphs into another, and we wait for a day without masks and isolation.

“Flew It All Around” by Matthew Lippman

My kid did my hair this morning. She got her fingers in my mop and fucked it up. Made all these spikes and railroads trestles. Threw in some twirls and … Read more

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