Thresholds and Other Poems (Apprentice House Press, Fall 2018)
"'Take the familiar and make it strange.’ (Thus spake short-story story writer Lydia Davis.) This is what poet Matt Hohner has done. Hohner hits the imaginative, intuitive nail on the head again and again in his collection Thresholds and Other Poems. Imagination leaps over time and space: for example, a poem’s two footnotes cite rock supergroup U2 and the second century Chinese poet Lu Chi. Here is poetry for readers who admire intellect that works at gut level. For readers who love poetry. And readers who don’t." --Clarinda Harriss, author of The White Rail, a short story collection, six poetry collections, and The Innumerable Moons, a collection of poetry and short fiction (forthcoming)
"In a distinct luminous voice, Matt Hohner's poems are a clairaudient cartography of the silent currents orbiting our lives. These poems map the tragic and profound events and memories that come not just to define us but to propel us toward hope. Charting the stars, the sea floors, the streets of Baltimore, the history raging around us,' Thresholds and Other Poems will carve its atlas on your heart." --Edgar Silex, poet, author of Through All the Displacements and Acts of Love (Northwestern University Press), and Even the Dead Have Memories (New Sins Press)
"The world, and Baltimore in particular, has been waiting for Thresholds and Other Poems for years, and Thresholds has been waiting for us . . . as friends, relatives, mentors, spouses, teachers, students, neighbors, victims, addicts, killers . . . as readers. Matt Hohner's stunning collection is an immeasurable account of history, landscape, and humanity that is only visible through verse, where wars are simultaneously waged—internally and externally, where loss and love meet in the small ripple of a hidden river, where poetry is as painful as birth. Thresholds brings us a blueprint made of 'simple wooden boats and carts' and 'acrid cloudsmoke scraping across an impossible sky,' a place for remembrance, for validation, for mourning, longing, and fear. Here, we are given the chance to cross lines and limits, returning and moving forward, instinctually and unapologetically, toward home." --Katherine Cottle, author of three books with Apprentice House Press, I Remain Yours, Halfway, and My Father's Speech
"In Thresholds and Other Poems, Matt Hohner’s muscular, clear-eyed poems draw a densely textured map: one reads, slipping into the poems’ loci, their creeks and gorges, streets and dark skies. These are poems of deep fidelity: to memory and to place; to past hurts and the scars they’ve left; and to love. Hohner is unafraid of brutal truths: in one poem, the speaker says, of a mother, that he grows “no closer to her now/ than I would to a marble headstone, or a lie.” But the poems do not shrink from the great beauties either, and this is their power. In “Saratoga Passage,” the speaker says, “I have known this pulling-to and letting go / I have known the searing white heat of entry into this world alone, / the profound momentary ripples, the lonely stillness that follows.” The stir, and the stillness, are the gifts these poems give us." --Lisa Bickmore, author of Ephemerist (Red Mountain Press) and flicker (Elixir Press)
"Matt Hohner’s Thresholds and Other Poems is an extraordinary collection of poems steeped in an awareness of history and culture and the natural world. With unflinching attention to detail, in a voice both angry and tinged with sadness, the poet decries the horrifying behavior of human beings in the contemporary world. In other poems, he explores the depths of friendship and family, personal loss and longing, and the healing that can best be found in love and nature. Thresholds reminds the reader that only by contemplating darkness can we truly appreciate the light." --Bill Jones, poet, author of Swimming at Night (winner of the Artscape 1992 literary award) and At Sunset, Looking East (Apprentice House Press)
On its journey to publication, Thresholds and Other Poems garnered the following recognition: semi-finalist in the 2015 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award, finalist in the 2015 Backwaters Press Prize for Full-length Book Manuscript, runner-up for the 2017 Brick Road Poetry Press Book Contest, and honorable mention in the 2017 Broadkill River Press Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. All of the poems offered here as samples from Thresholds and Other Poems were first published individually and / or won awards.
A review of Thresholds and Other Poems by poet Harvey Lillywhite can be found here: https://thelochravenreview.net/matt-hohner-thresholds-and-other-poems-re...