Matthew Thorburn is a native of Michigan and a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he was a two-time Hopwood Award winner and a Cowden Fellow. He the author of a book of poems, Subject to Change (New Issues, 2004), and a chapbook, the long poem Disappears in the Rain (Parlor City Press, 2009). His work has been recognized with a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and a BRIO Fellowship from the Bronx Council on the Arts, and his poems have appeared in such journals as The American Poetry Review, Poetry, Seneca Review, Prairie Schooner and Indiana Review. A graduate of the MFA program at The New School, he lives and works in New York City.
Subject to Change
Subject to Change
A 2003 New Issues Poetry Prize Selection,
"Matthew Thorburn’s Subject to Change gives us a poetry of the meta-empirical, asking, ‘It’s not too late, is it?’ Exuberant and crystalline, these poems articulate the problematic beauty of our grand mix-up, our new and comic Dark Ages. The next time a student asks me, ‘What’s after Postmodernism?’ I’ll tell her, ‘Read this.’"
"In Subject to Change, Matthew Thorburn’s got the Duchamp sunglasses dusted off and the Gertrude Stein boots all shined up, the Art Blakey bottom with the Sweets Edison top, the long afternoons and avenues of New York and Detroit drawn invoking and endless in front of you, a Lee Baby Sims soundtrack crackling on the radio: it’s a sad and beautiful world."
"The examination of personal nostalgia resonates throughout Matthew Thorburn's Subject to Change, and this underlying thread of sadness and remorse and hopeful expectation—a quest for what might have been and might yet be—makes the emotional edge of these poems burn with brilliant clarity."
“And now comes Subject to Change, his first collection of poems. It is a lush, extravagant book, one that resists any easy categories. It is filled with the energy of urgent composition (this poet really believes he should engage the themes of the ages), with genuine humor, and with formal confidence."
"Wallace Stevens once said that poets must love words with all their power to love anything at all. Few first books show as much pleasure in words as Matthew Thorburn’s Subject to Change 'Have you ever seen a less flight-worthy lark, / such an archipelago of glum-faced rice-throwers?' Thorburn writes of a winter wedding. Influenced by Paul Muldoon, among others, Thorburn fashions original devices to depict familiar affections. In a sestina, he celebrates a more fortunate marriage, showing its couple 'happy as two blue / plate specials in a diner called Moe’s."
"Does the country mouse need protection for the city's rough landscape? Not in this case. In fact, the speaker is stronger for his ability to flash back. Why the rhyme scheme, and the white horse? To add this moment to the mythos of Subject to Change, where everyday symbols coexist with romantic, legendary ones, and the reader is part of the journey; just another subject in the grand, chivalric court of change."
"This book is infectious, and downright fun."