Minn. poet Matt Rasmussen named finalist in National Book Awards

This morning the finalists were announced for the National Book Awards; among the finalists for poetry was Matt Rasmussen’s “Black Aperture.”

Rasmussen, who teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College, was one of the literary voices featured in MPR’s special “Writing Minnesota.

Here’s one of his poems:


A tinfoil lake rattles the sun
as a canoe crosses it

approaching my shore.
The Native American girl

walks toward me, kneels,
offers a golden box of butter,

and then she’s on the box
I am holding.

Apparently, I’ve accepted.
Come, she says, we will

burn beauty into something
even more beautiful.

It is evening inside
the refrigerator.

I lie down shivering
near the lake.

The giant red ring
hovers behind her,

generating warmth.
You must fall asleep

in your dream to wake up
in your life, she says.

I can hear the vegetables
dying in the crisper

and through the door,
the television weeping

openly, unashamed.
— “Land O’ Lakes” appears in Matt Rasmussen’s chapbook “Fingergun,” published in 2006 by Kitchen Press.