Black Aperture

Black Aperture

WINNER of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets

& FINALIST for the 2013 National Book Award

praise for
Matt Rasmussen

This may be the most difficult and the most important collection to read of 2013, and calling it an impressive first book is understatement.

— Seth Graves, Coldfront's Top 10 Poetry Book of 2013

Charged with almost reckless honesty and excruciating accuracy… If [Rasmussen] hadn’t such a genius with language and image, then … this … book would be impossible. Instead, it’s unforgettable.

— Connie Wanek, Rain Taxi and

The book … is remarkable, one of the best of 2013.

— Kathleen Rooney, Poetry Foundation

This is how the northern mourn… This book may not set [Rasmussen] free, but it does something nearly as eternal: It turns a tragedy into a mythology.

— John Freeman, Boston Globe

Where did this strange, sad, gorgeous book come from?

— Craig Teicher, NPR

[This] stellar debut is inventive and courageous, a stark exploration of the giant hole — and dark opening — created by his brother’s suicide.

— Elizabeth Lund, The Washington Post

The big subject in these poems is not only the suicide but, more importantly, how any interpretation of suicide is ambiguous, how it draws itself instinctively to metaphor and a sort of truncated dialectic where, instead of arguing with oneself, the poet is arguing with the living image left on the trail of someone’s being gone.

— Michael Klein, LA Review of Books

By infusing pastoral images reminiscent of Wright with his own strange iconography of grief, Rasmussen creates a style distinctly his own.

— Elizabeth Hoover, Star Tribune

The liberations of tongue, word, and conception held in these poems restore the possibility-sense that’s as essential to us as oxygen, when a person stands in the chambers of unacceptable loss.

— Jane Hirshfield

Certain poets have the ability to create poems of Euclidean clarity. Rasmussen is one such poet. His images make me feel as though I’ve lived for years in the span of a moment. His lapidary poems seem more real than the chair I am sitting on or the room that holds me aloft in space as I type this.

— Ben Mirov

With this book, [Matt] brilliantly conveys how the echo of death crowds us toward our most important questions, one after another, and Rasmussen bravely faces each of them without succumbing to answer. Instead, the poems quake with light.

— Chris Martin