Filmed at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival on location at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Footage used by permission of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.
"More than putting another man on the moon..."

Matthew Dickman

Slow Dance

Matthew Dickman (b. 1975 Portland, Oregon) published his first book of poetry, All-American Poem, in 2008. In that year it won the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize in Poetry, as well as the first May Sarton Award from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In 2009 Dickman won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award for a first book by a "poet of genuine promise." Dickman's work has been published in Tin House, Boston Review, The American Poetry Review, The Missouri Review, and The New Yorker. He is currently a Visiting Writer at Reed College in Portland.


Dickman's poems capture the intense emotions of everyday life, and deal with pain, loss, love, and poverty with gentle understanding and hopefulness. He has said that he wants his poems to resonate with people in the blue-collar world he was born into and the language in poems like "Slow Dance" is clear and immediate. "I decided to include anything I wanted in my poems," Dickman has said, "Pepsi, McDonald's, the word ass." Major Jackson's appreciation of Dickman describes "Slow Dance" well: "[It] is his artfulness and large spirit, telescoping without sentimentality the single outlook of a speaker who has escaped such conditions and now looks back, as bluesy as such projects go, that gives his poems a universality of feeling, an expressive lyricism of reflection, and heartrending allure."