Forklift, Ohio


Cover of LIKE THAT by Matthew Yeager


From the June 2017 PLOUGHSHARES Review 

"...anybody can read and find connection in the joy and sadness and humanity of these poems. A common criticism of poetry is that it alienates or seems inaccessible for all the 'work' it takes in reading. While much of contemporary poetry is overtly political and seeks to shift perspectives, it rarely reaches a broad audience. Yeager’s poems have no political goals, but manage to be unifying and exactly what we need right now. The poems may have been written before the current political atmosphere made all of America’s fractures and prejudices obviously apparent and televised, but this collection comes just in time to save us all from loneliness."

(click here to read the full review)


From the June 2016 PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Review   

"This book is a triumph of sonic quality, line construction, and sustained attention, and Yeager's greatest achievement is getting readers to follow his example and reach inside themselves."

(click here to read the full review)



“The language of Matthew Yeager is ecstatic ... passionate, gregarious and so mind-bending the lines ring your head.”

—Terrance Hayes


“ witnesses Yeager build the very staircases he ascends ... always funny, sad, and true ... wonderfully human at their core.”

—Cate Marvin


“...demonstrate[s] that in the right hands, and with the right voice, the long poem has a lot of life in it.... Yeager thinks big, talks fast, begins with a small observation and lets it grow—or expands a simile to the point that it supplants the nominal subject, ‘like that.’ He is inventive and fearless.”

—David Lehman



Matthew Yeager author photo

Matthew Yeager‘s poems have appeared in Sixthfinch, Gulf Coast, Minnesota Review, Bat City Review, and elsewhere, as well as Best American Poetry 2005 and Best American Poetry 2010. His short film “A Big Ball of Foil in a Small NY Apartment” was an official selection at eleven film festivals in 2009-2010, picking up three awards. Other distinctions include the Barthelme Prize in short prose and two MacDowell fellowships. The co-curator of the long running KGB Monday Night Poetry Series, he has worked in the NY catering industry for thirteen years in various capacities: truck driver, waiter, sanitation helper, sanitation captain, bartender, bar captain, and lead captain.

BONUS: Read & hear Matthew Yeager's “Poem to First Love” which was featured as the March 31, 2016 POEM-A-DAY from the Academy of American Poets.


LIKE THAT by Matthew Yeager

124 pages, soft cover, perfect-bound, 6" x 9"


EXCERPT FROM “A Jar of Balloons or The Uncooked Rice”

Have you ever had a haircut so bad
you cried? When you open the drawer
after having poured yourself a bowl of cereal
do you reach for a small or a large
spoon? How conscious are you of your
posture? Will you agree to let a lover use
your toothbrush? Which chemicals’
smells do you like? During which phase
of life did you acquire the bulk of your
friends? Have you ever quit a bad job
emphatically, ripped off a uniform or apron,
thrown the balled-up cloth at a superior,
then stomped off? Grey or gray? Who
most often terminates your telephone
conversations, you or the person to whom
you’ve been speaking? In your bad dreams
do you ever throw the slow motion
punch? Are you punctual? Is your signature
legible? Have you ever had a birthday go
uncelebrated? What’s the largest TV set
you’ve ever lived with? Showers or baths?
How much cash do you like to carry?
Ever been knocked unconscious?
One large winter coat or layers? If you cross
paths with someone walking a dog, do you talk
first to the person or the dog? Do you eat
or give away pickles? What’s the highest
floor on which you’ve ever lived?
Who is your most promiscuous friend?
Do you get jittery during airplane
turbulence? How jittery? Do you still drink
glasses of milk? How many people
have lived with you? How’s your balance?
Have you ever ridden in a limousine?
What are the chances, would you say,
of you becoming, one day, the president
of anything? Greater than none?
When did you learn to write checks?
Can you accurately size up the square
footage in a room? What games do you play
with small children you meet (such as
faking snatching off their noses by poking
a thumb between fingers)? Where you live
is the night sky starry? How high
can you kick? Have you wasted
much thought as to what you’d do
were money suddenly no limitation?
Cake cones or sugar cones? Are you quick
with your wit or do comebacks tend
always to arrive hours later?
Do you keep your photos in albums or
shoeboxes? Are you handy? Do you
cross the street to avoid groups of young men
at night? Have you ever been a part
of one of these groups and watched others
cross streets as a result of you? Do you
match and ball socks or just dump them,
en masse, into the drawer? Do you
bisect your sevens with one of those
squiggly hyphens? Have you gravitated,
traditionally, toward the top or the bottom
bunk? Is it your tendency to order
the same dish over and over, or mix it up?
Are you easy or hard to shop with?
Is your bed up against a wall, or does it sit
in the center of a room, accessible
from both sides? Do you own any pieces
of monogrammed attire? Aisle or window
seat? When eating out, do you set
your knife atop your plate and change
hands? What’s your favorite cuss word?
How long did you call your parents’ home
your home? How are you at keeping track
of which acquaintances you’ve told which
thing that’s happened to you?
Do you recycle? Do you think that
every bic lighter you see, when in the hands
of a friend, likely once belonged to you?
How are you at not losing pens? Do you
ever pass off profound-sounding statements
of your own creation as famous quotes?...


Copyright © 2016 by Matthew Yeager
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
ISBN 978-0-9903082-6-3

Edited by Matt Hart
Book and cover design by Eric Appleby
Cover & author photos by Mateusz Broughton