At the Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros

by Matt Mason
The Old Mill Press, 2022

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At The Corner of Fantasy and Main is about more than Disneyland, midlife, and churros. It’s about how our heart is sometimes more reliable than our memory and how places that are touchstones in our lives stay with us in ways that don’t always seem to make sense. And, well, it’s about Disneyland, midlife, and churros.

Winner of a Silver Award (Top 3!) in the Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Awards and shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Book Awards (meaning it’s in the top 10% of entries).

Quotes about At The Corner of Fantasy and Main:

"Matt Mason thrives at the crossroads of Disney and Whitman. This is page turning poetry that is Walt-to-Walt nostalgia sprinkled with cinnamon-sugared fairy dust. At the Corner of Fantasy and Main is an E- ticket ride back to an age of cinnamon sugar-coated vacation fantasies seen through the Viewmaster with a poet’s perspective. You will want to get back in line to ride these poems again and again."

"My greatest joy as an Imagineer was to visit the park and watch our guests interacting with the worlds we created, trying to imagine what they must be feeling. At the Corner of Fantasy and Main is a heartwarming and poignant exploration of those feelings – but not confined just to visits to the Happiest Place on Earth. Matt Mason is visiting our memories of the past as we search for reassurance in the present, all the while reminding us of our childhood dreams for the future. For those of us who have lived “a lovely life but have misplaced its key,” Matt’s poetry is a beacon of light in that search, beckoning to follow him around the corner and on till corndogs. I devoured the contents of this book like Matt devours his beloved churros."

"Matt Mason is a true Disneyland fan which shines through in all of his Disneyland poetry. Memories of the Happiest Place on Earth will come flooding back with these witty and nostalgic poems. A must read for any Disneyland fan!"

"Mason’s collection on The Happiest Place on Earth is cheeky and devastating, not unlike Walt’s kingdom itself—toads descend into hell around the corner from Sleeping Beauty’s castle; wisecracking skippers giving tours in the shadow of a deadly curse. These are the contradictions and connections wherein this fantastic meditation on family, midlife, magic and the unknown takes flight. It brings us to a place we can visit but cannot have, a reality that is shared and yet deeply individual. A must-read rumination on dreaming and longing."

"I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve had so much fun with a poetry collection. The work is clear and poignant, with such great humor."

"Poetry is like a good steak: I don’t know anything about it, but I know it when I eat it and these poems taste great."

I Have a Poem the Size of the Moon

by Matt Mason
Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2020

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I Have A Poem The Size Of The Moon is a book of poems about Nebraska. Not cornfields, not cows: Cities, highways, long drives and the political conversations simmering.

Quotes about I Have a Poem the Size of the Moon:

"Mason is a rare poet whose skill reveals itself in layers to seasoned readers; but is equally charming in the ears of coffee shop bystanders or teenagers in the classroom."

"In Matt Mason’s I Have a Poem the Size of the Moon, you will find poems in your shirt pocket and Nebraska under your feet. With his crooning verbs and aching line breaks, Matt will prove to you that both are equally brilliant."

The Baby That Ate Cincinnati

by Matt Mason
Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2013

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The Baby That Ate Cincinnati is a collection of poems about parenthood.  And horror movies.  It’s about that other side of things, the bit with the wonder and the magic as well as the terror of trying to redefine yourself and your place in the universe with what is really a very strange and monumental change in who you are, what you do, and what you truly fear.  Ultimately, you know, it’s life affirming, just like all classic scary movies, by the time the credits roll.

Quotes about The Baby That Ate Cincinnati:

"With this rollicking, compassionate and tender take on all things fatherhood, Matt Mason plucks daddy from the backdrop and grants us full access to the heart on his sleeve. Nimbly crafted and threaded with irrepressible insight and humor, these poems sidestep predictable sentiment in favor of the revelatory, awed and vaguely obsessive musings of 'the other parent.'"

"In The Baby That Ate Cincinnati, Matt Mason gifts us with the shock and awe of becoming a first-time parent. We experience the exhaustion, introspection, and reality of making life out of chaos in these masterfully crafted poems, ranging from the hyperbolic and hilarious (“thunder infant,” “she has come to eat your brains”) to the tender and lyrical (“I would carry this child/ on bare feet if I had to, I would/ keep the wind from touching her” and in “Happily Ever After”). Entertaining and always engaging, Mason’s poems overwhelmingly celebrate the ages-old and universal language known as love."

"Matt Mason’s latest collection deals, for a change, with the male’s side of birthing and raising children, including a clear-eyed look at the non-cuddly moments. Hence the title. But it also provides a compelling view of parenthood’s bestowals, in which the newborn’s gaze at a ceiling water-stain teaches the father that “there’s no difference between it and Cortez’s Cities of Gold.” Mason’s refreshing sense of married love’s “happily ever after” comes when “you realize/slipping past the troll,/turning the ghost to stone/was nothing/compared not/to how you came together/but to how/you managed/to stay.” The Baby that Ate Cincinnati is the work of a gifted poet with a big heart and infallible wit."

"The Baby That Ate Cincinnati is not the typical book of poems on birth, breastfeeding, and the crucifix some of us are taught to admire. We trace the humor in this book with lime dust thrown over the bodies of Mozart and Robert Johnson. Matt Mason knows well that most fathers hold their tongues and fists. Some do not. We have the aleatory nightmare on each page of this turbulent book. We have love poems dressed in barbed wire."

Things We Don't Know We Don't Know

by Matt Mason
The Backwaters Press, 2006

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Mason’s first full-length collection debuted at Number 12 on the May 28th poetry best sellers list.

Quotes about Things We Don't Know We Don't Know:

"The only thing better than reading these poems is to hear Matt Mason himself read them."

"Matt Mason must be declared the poet laureate of the Midwest! No other native son celebrates the overlooked America, its unsung citizens (from the anonymous poets to the part-time English teachers), and its expansive indigenous landscape, as well as he does. Mason's poetry is humorous when he wants to be quirky, heartbreaking when he wants to be eloquent, and though he moves effortlessly into other moods and geographies, he always returns to his first and most enduring love (and to what he knows best)-his homeland."

"Although Mason takes his title from Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's nonclarification of U.S. policy regarding "the war on terror," this exuberant poet helps us to see clearly a cornucopia of things we too often forget we know. Whether turning his attention to kiwifruit, Wild Kingdom's Marlin Perkins, the Strategic Air Command Museum, or lovers who with luck may come to resemble a no-expiration-date snack cake, Mason sheds some of his Nebraskan light on our universally human proceedings. And anyone who can actually say, for the poem-record, "I believe that aliens built the Pyramids, Stonehenge, / and most of my ex-girlfriends" surely knows, by heart, a few more things we only think we may be better off not knowing."

See reviews at: 

When The Bough Breaks

by Matt Mason
a chapbook from Lone Willow Press, 2005

Quotes about When The Bough Breaks:

"Mason is a poet readers trust. He pulls us in with poems that are precise, moving, disturbing, and consoling."

"...powerful, self-searching poems..."

“Matt Mason is one of a handful of writers in any genre who’s made me laugh till I cried and then, a heartbeat or two later, moved me to weep, not for the losses we inevitably suffer, but at the courage we necessarily muster to travel beyond our grief.”

Additional Reviews:

When the Bough Breaks by Matt Mason

Mistranslating Neruda

by Matt Mason
a chapbook from New Michigan Press, 2002

Quotes about Mistranslating Neruda:

Mistranslating Neruda is Matt Mason’s homage to Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Not only does Mason mimic the sequence in length, but he also tries duplicating the inventive use of language: Like angel hair pasta waving goodbye to the boiling water, / the sausages from the refrigerator fly into your hands. // Innumerable hearts of the sausage / fortify inside the rare silences of young love. Equally emblematic for the rest of the sequence, Mason writes, early on: Body of a woman, white as flour, as egg whites, / you break into the world with the immediacy of warm cookies. Lines like these make Mason’s chapbook a hoot to read. While he actively tries to mimic Neruda, to “mistranslate” him, Mason’s own sense of absurdity takes off, pulling the reader along. These poems also display the depths of Mason’s imagination, but do they stand up to the master inspiring them? No, but they weren’t intended to, either. In his preface, Mason claims everybody has read a horrible act of translation, be it in high school English texts or elsewhere, and this chapbook was to be a satire on “mistranslations.” That doesn’t change the joy of language Mason revels in, and to this collection, that’s a gift."

Mistranslating Neruda by Matt Mason

Need More Poems?

Read a poem by Matt Mason at Verse Daily.