14 June 2012

online finds 6/14: an interview with poet matt larrimore

Matt and I could have been rivals. Matt likes the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles; I like the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies. Matt thinks a cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz is A-Okay; I think it’s a cardinal sin. At karaoke, Matt would sing Rock ballads; I sang Soul ballads. We could have been rivals ... instead I consider him a good friend. I know Matt from graduate school; we both attended, and now have both graduated from, Northern Arizona University’s Master’s Program in English. When I was the poetry editor for Thin Air Magazine, the graduate literary journal for NAU, Matt was one of my go-to readers whose input led to a number of fantastic poetry selections; he went on to become the Managing Editor for the journal. We workshopped each other’s poems in class and enjoyed each other’s poems at readings. We talked sports (despite differing teams, we can both love baseball). He’s a great friend, and a great poet. It’s a joy to have the opportunity to interview him as part of this series.

Matt Larrimore, poet, and editor of Four Ties Lit Review

Matthew Larrimore was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and moved west in 2007. Since then he has lived in Colorado and now resides in Arizona. He received a Master’s degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing in May of 2012 at Northern Arizona University. He is the Founder / Editor of FourTiesLitReview.com. His own work has previously appeared in The Chimeras, The Crucible, Aproposthearts.com, and TheMinutiae.Blog.com.

What are you currently working on?

I have a lot of irons in the fire right now. I’m trying to find a job or assistantship that will work with the MFA program I’ve been accepted into. I’m reading a lot of submissions for my new online magazine Four Ties Lit Review. I’m working on getting personal submissions out. I’m also trying to get some writing (poetry) done. We have a small group of poets and other writers working on a ‘30 poems in 30 days challenge’ for the month of June. I’m not keeping up too well though.

You mentioned the start up of your lit magazine, Four Ties Lit Review. Tell us a little about your vision for Four Ties, and where you see it going over the next year.

Sure, I put a Northern Arizona University only issue together as a primer on how FTLR  will look, feel, and run. But, I’m thinking for the next year (or three) of sticking to two volumes per year. One in the summer; the one I’m working on and accepting submissions for now will be out in July sometime. The second volume I will work on in December / January. I’m planning a themed issue.

Poets often find themselves drawn to certain “themes” in their own and other work. What are the themes that most appeal to you in your own, or other poets’, poem?

I have been accused of being a “food” poet. Some of my most successful poems have featured food. “Ode to Bacon Cheeseburger” was a hoot to write. However, I’m also attached to natural or nature themes even though they can be hard to work with for me. I love so much of Robert Frost’s work. Over the past two years, while working on my master’s degree I’ve become interested in the elements of a poet’s voice and have looked to Bukowski and Simic for models as I work on my “Baltimore” voice. I suppose that could be a theme you might start to hear from me in the near future.

Oftentimes poets consider themselves as having “arrived” at becoming a poet. How long have you considered yourself a poet? 

I laughed when I read this question. I’ve written poetry, been published, and edited magazines a few times over the last three decades. My first publication credit came in 1986, but until recently I was uncomfortable claiming to be a poet. When I began to see poetry as part of my life’s work it became easier to say I was a “Poet.” And that happened while I was taking a class with Lisa Zimmerman at the University of Northern Colorado just four years ago. After Lisa’s class I was proud to be an apostle of poetry.

Who or what are you currently reading?

I have a problem staying with one book at a time. This is especially true of poetry for me. I’m re-reading Master of Disguise  by Charles Simic for a book review I plan on writing. I’m reading Teahouse of the Almighty  by Patricia Smith (I got to meet Ms. Smith a few years ago at a writer’s conference,) and the June issue of Poetry  magazine. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes  is at my bedside, not too serious not too long, perfect before sleep. I’m one chapter into Cooper’s Deer Slayer  on the Kindle my wife got me as a graduation present.

What is the best advice you would give to someone considering submitting to Four Ties Lit Review?

I’m pretty sentimental. If I laugh, if I shed a tear it has a chance, but it has to be smart and interesting as well. 

If you could share a piece of advice for other poets, what would it be?

I believe poetry is intimate communication. Write for yourself, but revise for your reader.

Matt was kind enough to share some of his own poems for your reading pleasure! Enjoy!

Ode to Bacon Cheese Burger (originally published by The Crucible, April 2009)

O’ Bacon Cheese Burger I adore you.
My eyes feast upon your tempting beauty.
I envy the bun that holds you so close,
As you lounge upon a bed of lettuce.
Flames have perfectly caressed your patty.
Your golden cheese melted so smooth, so sharp.
Smokey bacon adorns your luscious form.
I desire to consume you wholly,
as your juices run down my chin.

Florissant (originally published by The Crucible, April 2010)

Out of crystalline arching skies crowded with gathering cumulus clouds, the wind blows over this high ancient ground. It flows in waves down the mottled green heaving hills of Florissant. Pressing through the ruddy brown ponderosas, it carries the soft sweet scent of pine. Over the high prairie, once an ancient lake, it bobs the golden yellow crowned white heads of simple mountain flowers. It whirls above the fifteen feet of ashen flow that buries redwoods of stone preserved from time untold to time un-guessed. It whispers something in my ear. Something, I do not understand about finding a place in the world.

Cat Watching (originally published by Aproposthearts.com, January 2012)

It seemed an age as we watched the tiger
put a bystander under his claws,
like a scene from the Coliseum,
sending Christians running for exits.
A single shot severed the spinal cord.

The celeb-utantes were the first from the scene
They never get dead no matter their age.
Looked and leered upon, they bring their goons
for show and tell, bang and batter each other.
Many are moonstruck by their beauty.

Their hair silvers like moonlight.
All the greats vie for the key to their images.
They blanch at the thought of age gone by.

At the end of the age they look
for hell’s dark sun, glittering like a jar
of jam, a poisoned dagger poised to drop.

The Skydome, nothing more or less
than a tent, I watched as its age ended,
imagining spectators running from the blue
lumps of ice that came crashing like satin sheets
of glass dropping to the field below.

Salmonberry (originally published by TheMinutiae.blog.com June 2012)

Poised like bells to sing out,
not in sound, but in color,
to spread magenta pink petals
and serenade the sun.

Learn more about Matt’s new literary journal, and consider submitting, by visiting him online at www.fourtieslitreview.com!


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Check out these other Online Finds posts on Our Lost Jungle:


  1. "Write for yourself, but revise for your reader."
    Great advice for poets and anyone who writes.
    Best of luck to Matthew and Four Ties Lit Review.
    Excellent interview, Khara.

    1. Echoing this post in total. Thanks so much Matthew and Khara. Khara, I'm getting so much out of these interviews!

  2. Great interview with lots of info. I'm filing away. Congrats to both Matthew and Khara.

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Amy and Kim! Matt has let me know he'll be stopping by to comment (and answer any questions) in the near future. I'm sure he'll appreciate your comments :)

  4. Here I am. Thanks for your kind comments Amy and Kim. I appreciate the opportunity to be on Our Lost Jungle. So, many thanks to Khara.

    1. Thank you, Matt, for your willingness to be part of this series!

  5. Nice interview, both of you. I dig your advice especially. And audience must be managed, but its best to consider them after the fact.I think it's useful to find insights from both sides of the publishing process, here from a writer and from a writer/publisher. Thanks for doing this. Good stuff.

    1. Thanks, John; and thanks for stopping by!

  6. Excellent interview, Khara! Thanks for introducing us to Matt and his new venture. Success to All! --Veggie Val

    1. Thanks so much! Matt truly made it easy; I can't wait to watch as his FTLR takes off and soars in the months and years to come!


Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

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