Contributed By:

Emily Harris

Rebroadcast: The Dickman Brothers

OPB | Dec. 30, 2009 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9:10 p.m.

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Here’s one introduction to the Dickmans: what they were reading when they appeared on the show last summer.

Their visibility outside the poetry world jumped when The New Yorker profiled the twins earlier this year. Since then, they’ve continued to write, teach, and talk at literary events around the Northwest and elsewhere.

Michael’s work has been called “spare” and “durable.” Here’s an excerpt from his poem “Nervous System”:

When I think of the childhood inside me I think of sunlight dying
on a windowsill

The voices of my friends
in the sunlight

All of us running around
outside of our
deaths

Reviews of Matthew’s first volume of poetry described his work as “luminous” and “of the moment.” Here is part of “Sad Little Outlaw”:

Tied to the tree, as I was, while my brother galloped
through the backyard, straddling a broom,
a plastic six-shooter in his hand.
I was always being left behind
in the mud, a bandage around my eyes,
until he reached out
just enough so that our fingers slipped apart
and he could ride away, calling out my name as the posse advanced.
But it wasn’t really my name
with its biblical limitations, no, he called out Johnny!!!
Johnny, that all-American from Kansas and Iowa, that Johnny
from New Jersey and Queens, a boy
people will beat their chests for as the flag is being folded
into its triangle of pity.

What do you think of this pair of Portland poets?

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