small siren, my full length collection of poetry, emerges in 2018 at The Cultural Society.
About small siren:
“When good poetry hits, it animates the actual, it becomes the actual. That’s small siren: a serious romp of constructive music that is what it says. Science and nature unlock their mysteries by being precise; in small siren the words — cut, spliced, compressed — form units of attention enacting the physical world so precisely that even the sun and the moon ride their arcs untroubled. Across cities and seas, Alexandra Mattraw’s language isn’t attached to images; it comes out of them, like a birthright. The authenticity is declarative and unmistakable: ‘A sign is a block, an island, a cloud, a clock.’ She makes it real.”
“Though cradled by earth, Mattraw’s poems wander through a new human condition. Or are the songs of spirits who won’t tiptoe around their biographers. Through the unregistered versions of ourselves, we can read these poems and worry about having regular bodies later. Here is a beautiful lesson or wager that on a page you can risk your dreams.”
“In Alexandra Mattraw’s much-awaited first book, small siren, we encounter a poet of extraordinary observation and inquiry. An enchantment and engagement with the world commences: “when is a voice a piano,’ “repetition needs to believe,’ “what grew before you could speak’ build a kind of groundswell where Mattraw puts her ear to the hardscape of 21st century America and its global environs: Sao Paolo, Iceland, New Zealand. Ultimately, notions of country and categories break down. What we find is heresy, hearsay, and yes, wishes. Throughout, what survives is a relationship of love and courage, of errors and triumph. A human relationship of lovers, of family. This is a book of wonder and awe and strength. When the world goes down, I want to be in Alexandra Mattraw’s boat.”
flood psalm, my fourth chapbook, can be found at Dancing Girl Press!
About flood psalm:
“Here is the body and Here, beyond the body, too. Mattraw’s flood psalm occupies the contested zones of that which is, that which is becoming and that which will be.
‘As absolute statements falter’—in the dilation and duration of boundaries—this work swells inside of time, marking the overwhelmed and overwhelming implied violence of definition and the parenthetical echoing of relationships, motherhood, birth and re-birth. ”
“Within in the way of harbors, Mattraw extracts the essential vibrancy of life and displays these droplets and pools for our wonder. An onlooker of a large expanse of landscape might see wildness, emptiness, the largesse of the indescribable, but Mattraw manages to draw our attention both inward and outward, connecting the existential dilemma with the majesty of the minutia within the natural world. This book conjures a journey home in an unfamiliar place: “there is little inside a road// she could keep”. It names the mysterious with power, claiming it within language that transforms in each reading, shifting through a multiplicity of meanings: my breath / slips in the bright suddenly / a woman / draped in farmery / wheat fields sheath. in the way of harbors creates a shell to hold a world, the invitational voice within it belongs to the page, belongs to us.”
A verbal Penelope concurrently weaving and unraveling the death shroud of language, Alexandra Mattraw endows her chapbook these threads a sound with a deftness and a potency that both reveal and conceal what possible sense lies beyond the gorgeously sensate. With lines such as “Creaks twist a juniper / bone claw upturned to demand // naming. You argue but cacti / bloom saffron one day a year,” Mattraw subordinates semantics to syntax in order to evoke multiple yearnings: for life, for loss, for identity, for dissolution into nature. I encourage you to become her literary suitor and experience firsthand the haunting beauty of these poems.
-John F. Buckley, author of Sky Sandwiches, co-author of Poets’ Guide to America
PROJECTION is available HERE at Achiote Press.
Alexandra Mattraw’s poems seduce a reader in many ways: with the clarity and beauty of their language, with deft poetic skills, with exotic subject matter, and, most important of all for me, with a penetrating poetic intelligence. In Mattraw’s chapbook, Projection, the poems interact with the reader and with each other, slowly and subtly altering the reader’s perception of the world. The rhythms and the language change to offer us shifting landscape, dream and hallucination and “reality” combined in an intoxicating mixture. Any new work by Alexandra Mattraw is a must read, original and unpredictable and full of dazzling excitements.
— Edward Smallfield, Apogee Press
“Projection has no page numbers. Mattraw’s gaze sees beyond the distracting details to the thing itself and, in her assured poems, writes toward an undivided wholeness seldom seen in contemporary poetry. The title poem begins, ‘How we love what’s hidden’ and these poems are one singular litany illuminating and momentarily lifting the ‘weight of a darkness we invented.'”
— Kevin Simmonds, poet, musician & filmmaker; author of Mad for Meat