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Northwest Passages: Michael & Matthew Dickman

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Twin brothers Michael and Matthew Dickman got a break earlier this year any young poet would love: a New Yorker profile and several poems published in the magazine. Matthew won a major poetry prize last year and both recently published their first collections of poems.

Poetry website coldfront magazine said Michael’s The End of the West is

straightforward and self-centered and immature, but it also cares about you. It puts a lot of weight on very small moments and it wants you to read it very, very slowly. It knows for sure that when you walk away from it, you will be leaving unnerved.

Reviewing Matthew’s All American Poem, the same website called the author

a spinner of tales, a would-be sad bastard sifting the fragments of teenagehood-cum-adulthood to write and write his way to meaning. Sometimes, he knows what to do when he finds it; other times, it is corrupted by toss-me-the-megaphone “Poetic” attacks: in the words of Elaine Benes, big budget movies with plots that go nowhere.

The 33 year-old brothers have won disdain as well as fame (well, as far as fame goes in American poetry). Poet Michael Schiavo says

The Dickman brothers have skated far into the poetry world on the novelty of being twins, the fact that they appeared in a Tom Cruise movie… their “rough-and-tumble” background… and by being so very in love with poetry. How wonderful.

Join the fray! You can read some of Michael’s poems here, here, and here. And Matthew’s here, here and here. What do you read in Michael’s spare, dense, inner-focused poems? Or in Matthew’s exuberant, discursive celebrations?

memoir poetry northwest passages northwest passages matthew dickman michael dickman donald miller

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