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Distributed for Carnegie Mellon University Press

What Passes Here for Mountains

Poems on the everyday confusions of life. 

Matt Morton’s What Passes Here for Mountains presents a mind caught in the grips of spiritual crisis. These poems take the reader on a journey across locales ranging from the West Texas desert to the bustling streets of Rome, from the social realm of festivity and ritual to the privacy of the imagination. Along the way, the search for meaning and stability within a world in constant flux is enlivened by a surrealist vitality. Cézanne and Shakespeare’s Caliban commingle with indie rock musicians and Humpty Dumpty. A mystical encounter with an Edward Hopper painting meets the mundanity of waking again to one’s morning routine. Poems of wry self-deprecation are juxtaposed with quiet meditations on memory, grief, and the relationship between the self and the cosmos.

32 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2


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“What follows are poems of arresting insight and stark assurance. What follows are the agile lines of someone who has mastered the sudden slap, the hushed lyric.”

Patricia Smith

“These are poems of immense intelligence and presence as nimble as flames conveying the nearly unbearable intimacy this life demands, threatens, and rewards us with.”

Dean Young

“What stands in the back of Matt Morton's beautiful and disturbing (poems) is a persistent emotional attachment to literary and religious traditions in which the speaker . . . intellectually disbelieves.”

Alan Shapiro

“Expert and instinctive, like a cool Ed Wilkerson sax solo bouncing with lived rhythms. Morton's consummate poems will echo long after they are read.”

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