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Work Samples

From Thresholds and Other Poems (Apprentice House 2018)

Three poems from my first collection, Thresholds and Other Poems (Apprentice House 2018). Here is a review of Thresholds and Other Poems by Harvey Lillywhite in The Loch Raven Review. Here is another review of Thresholds and Other Poems by Serena Agusto-Cox in the blog Savvy Verse & Wit. 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. 

PDF icon From Thresholds and Other Poems (Apprentice House 2018)

From Where Hope Kisses Rust

Four poems from Where Hope Kisses Rust, one of two full-length manuscripts completed during the pandemic. Continuing with topics and themes from by book Thresholds and Other Poems, this collection explores and confronts national and global politics, gun violence, the environment, addiction, the pandemic, and personal loss, all of which are inextricably woven into the fabric of my life and awareness as a citizen of Baltimore, Maryland.

PDF icon From Where Hope Kisses Rust


Two poems from M/OTHER, my current manuscript in progress, which began in earnest at my second residency at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in June 2022. It explores the complex circumstances, consequences, issues, and lifelong questions I've had regarding being adopted as an infant, as well as the fallout from my adoptive mother leaving the family when I was ten years old. It explores the frought and fluid themes of identity, abandonment, truth, and the ever-present nature vs. nurture argument over who I am at the genetic level, who I have become as a person, and how recent revelations have influenced how I see myself in the world.  

Aesthetically, this manuscript employs a necessary  shift in style and form to something more experimental in places, reflecting the often chaotic sense of information overload, conflicting interpretations of genetic data from competing DNA services, and how they play into the narrative(s) my parents and I have patchworked and filled in together based on sometimes erroneous, and oftentimes missing information about my origins. 

Working on this manuscript has been an exciting departure from the style and voice I normally use, and which I have developed over my career. It's been a pleasure reaching back to my studies alongside avant-garde writers and thinkers as an MFA student at Naropa University to utilize the most appropriate language and methodology in addressing and reflecting the intricacies and strangeness of my ongoing self-discovery as an adopted child.

PDF icon From M/OTHER

From An Indifferent Sky

Four poems from An Indifferent Sky, a full-length collection of poems begun during my first residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in 2016 and the second of two completed during the pandemic. These poems chronicle my experiences after I left my job as a teacher, when I went to work for a friend inspecting houses in various stages of foreclosure in rural parts of central Maryland. Using an app on my smart phone, my job was to photographically verify and document occupancy in houses for which the mortgages were in arrears for a mortgage service hired by banks. Most of the time, the houses were still occupied, and I conducted a “drive-by” inspection from the street. Some houses, however, were vacant, often for quite some time.

This collection describes the conditions of some of those vacant houses and the absences of the people who once filled them, whose spirit and presence still lingered in the spaces and on the grounds where they once flourished. It also records my struggle as a poet-observer amidst the devastation not only to maintain my own humanity in such an inhumane task, but to preserve the dignity and humanity of the folks whose lives and families were uprooted by financial disaster.

PDF icon From An Indifferent Sky


About Matt

Baltimore City

Matt Hohner's picture
Matt Hohner, a Baltimore native, holds an M.F.A. in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. He is an assistant editor for poetry at The Loch Raven Review. Published in nine countries on five continents, Hohner's poetry has garnered numerous  awards and recognition. He recently earned second place in the Connecticut River Review 2021 Vivian Shipley Poetry Award and the 2021 Fish Poetry Prize, was shortlisted for the... more

Spoken Word: Video Performances

For more videos of me reading my work, including recent additions during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit my Youtube channels here and here.

Video 1: "Poem for the Dead at Tuam Beginning and Ending with a Line from U2's '11 O'Clock Tick-Tock,'" published in Bangor Literary Journal, Issue 14, 2021. Forthcoming in my next book with Salmon Poetry, 2023.

Video 2: "Bearing the Weight of Light," for the 2020 Trim Poetry Festival in Ireland, celebrated virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video 3: "Chemo," selected by poet Billy Collins for Second Overall in the 2021 Fish Publishing Poetry Prize and published in the Fish Anthology. Forthcoming in my next book with Salmon Poetry, 2023.

Video 4: "Oysters," winner of the 2014 Maryland Writers' Association Literary Contest. From Thresholds and Other Poems (Apprentice House 2018). 

Video 5: "Cord," recorded live at the Mom Egg Review Vol. 16 publication reading, The Poets House, New York, NY, June 2, 2018. From Thresholds and Other Poems (Apprentice House 2018).

Spoken Word: Audio Links and Files

I recently enjoyed reading a few poems for the blogspot Eat the Storms, hosted by Damien Donnelly. (Listen for a special guest appearance by Cassanova Cicada, translating one of my poems into Cicadian.) Go to the 15 minute mark on the recording here:

Another poem, "Mob Hit at the Ark Ramp," winner of the 2018 Sport Literate "Anything But Baseball" Poetry Contest, can be read and heard here:

My poem "How to Unpack a Bomb Vest," which appears earlier in my portfolio, can be experienced online in text and audio form here:  It was featured on May 25, 2017 on the Rattle: Poets Respond website. It was written in response to the suicide bombing of a concert in Manchester, England, which was attended by mostly young girls and women.

The first poem recording uploaded here is "Kevin," about a former student in my tenth grade World Literature class at Towson High School. It was the featured poem for Monday, November 3, 2014 on The Five-Two, a blog of poems about crime, edited by Gerald So. (Recording credit: Jason DeFontes.) Here is the link to the The Five-Two (scroll down to find my poem and recording):

The second  poem, "Cal Ripken," was included on a CD of local Baltimore and Maryland poets reading their work, produced by Blair Ewing and released in 2001, entitled Word Up, Baltimore! I wrote it during the height of the media frenzy over "The Streak" in a bit of a tongue-in-cheek tone after detecting during and interview of Ripken a bit of weariness on his part over the hype surrounding what would be his eventual breaking of Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played. 

Brechtje and Me: A Transatlantic, Multidisciplinary Collaboration

After my poem "How to Unpack a Bomb Vest" was published online at Rattle: Poets Respond on May 25, 2017, Rattle editor Timothy Green put me in contact with Dutch composer Brechtje Vandijk (she goes simply by her first name, Brechtje). Brechtje had read my poem and wanted to create an original musical composition for it. In a series of e-mails, I worked with Brechtje to edit my poem down a bit in order to fit it better into a musical score, to be sung with accompaniment. 

These images are of my revised poem and a few sections of  the poem as lyrics with the musical score written by Brechtje. The work was performed in early March 2018 at several venues around the Netherlands; my wife and I flew to the Netherlands to see the live performance by the avant-garde band VONK (which means "spark" in Dutch) at the Crosslinx Music Festival held at the Muziekgebouw / Bimhuis venue in Amsterdam on March 3, 2018. You can watch the video of the performance below. VONK also later recorded "How to Unpack a Bomb Vest" for a CD. 

Here / Not Here: Art and Poetry of Place

This ekphrastic project paired images by Maryland artists, mostly of places or scenes in Maryland, with poets from Maryland, who wrote pieces in response to the images. My poem "Rumbley, Maryland," written in response to Jonathan Nepini's painting "Hooper's Island," was chosen along with his painting to be included in the book.

Images in this project are of pages from the book Here / Not Here: Art and Poetry of Place, published by Salisbury University Art Galleries in 2020 to accompany an exhibit of the artwork in Salisbury, MD in October 2020. I have included a PDF of my poem as well, in case the image of my poem from the book doesn't translate well visually on some people's computer screens.

The Baltimore Ekphrasis Project: A Conversation of Poetry and Art

A collaboration with Baltimore artist "Spilly" for the Baltimore Ekphrasis Project, published online and on a giant LED billboard on Charles Street next to Penn Station in Baltimore.

My poem "Pulse" was written in response to Spilly's painting "Play." Spilly, in turn, painted "Of Light and Water" in response to my poem of the same title.

Here is a link to my poems alongside artwork by Spilly:

  • Pulse

    The distant trill / of a flute dances into his ears as his empty veins collapse, / hollow heart slows, ants begin to soldier into his wounds. / If only he could climb out of the arroyo, collect his blood / clotting in the soil, walk home. 

    PDF icon Pulse
  • Play

    In deference to the integrity and autonomy of the work by the original artist, this is a smaller sample image of the larger work entitled "Play" by the artist Spilly, also known as "Baltimore Hoop Love." Click on the link in the general description of this project to see the painting in its entirely.
  • Of Light and Water

    Nearly twenty years have carved themselves into us since then: / wide arroyos of loss and lush spirals of growth; glyphs of an ancient / dialect only we can speak. We have learned to dance like this, / to give and take, each of us throwing our own light, each reflecting / the other.

    PDF icon Of Light and Water
  • Of Light and Water

    In deference to the integrity and autonomy of the work by the original artist, this is a smaller sample image of the larger work entitled "Of Light and Water" by the artist Spilly, also known as "Baltimore Hoop Love." Click on the link in the general description of this project to see the painting in its entirely.

States (Chapbook)

States is my chapbook published by Third Ear Books. This chapbook originally started as a series of micro cassette tapes spoken as a travel journal as I drove solo across the country to Naropa University (then called The Naropa Institute) in Boulder, Colorado to pursue my MFA in Writing at their Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. States was first transcribed verbatim from the tapes, then shaped, workshopped, and edited over the next two years. This is the final product of the creative portion of my master's thesis, which Editor Jerry Tumlinson at Third Ear Books was gracious enough to publish.

Matt's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.