Winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry (2013)
If it were necessary to tell someone where I am,
I’d say the spheres of Kepler resonate like icicles.
I’d say I have loved.
These are high-energy poems, riddled with wit and legerdemain and jolted by the philosophy and science of time. 'Time's not the market, it's the bustle; / not the price but worth,'he muses, sailing through the rhythms and algorithms of a world made concrete by Samuel Johnson, before it was undone by Niels Bohr. Tierney's narrators grapple with the gap between what's seen and what's experienced, their minds tuned to one (probably) inevitable truth: the more I understand, the more I understand I'm alone.
What continues to set Matthew Tierney's poems apart is their uncanny ability to find within the nomenclature of science not mere novelty but a new pathto human frailty, a renewed assertion of individuality, and a genuine awe at existence.
'It smothers us with normal,' Matthew Tierney writes in his spangled third collection, 'though we cleave to standard deviations.' Deviant, yes; normal and standard, no. These poems are all quantum fluctuation and collapse, language folding in on itself in the gorgeous vacuum of contemporary culture. 'Every p-brane sweeps out a (p+1)-dimensional world volume as it propagates through spacetime,' says Wikipedia. I have no idea what that means, but Matthew Tierney does. Let him school you.' – Michael Robbins