Monkey Bars



“Lippman’s poems fly straight into the center of trouble and joy of the moment because they are unafraid of dying. . . . I love ’em.”  —Tony Hoagland, 2008 Jackson Poetry Prize & author of Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty

“Lippman’s work guides us through loss & suffering as well as ecstatic joys & the angelic swells of the living body. . . . His poems are the work of the heart; beating, bruised, electric.”
—Matthew Dickman, winner of the 2009 Kate Tufts Discover Award for All-American Poem

“A major poet. No bones about it.”
—Juan Felipe Herrera,  2008 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for Half of the World in Light

“. . .[S]hock value [alternates] with the shocks of recognition, in this fast-talking, sometimes profane second collection. . . . [T]houghtful readers might first laugh, and then recoil, and then sympathize.”
Publishers Weekly; read entire review here

” . . . Lippman creates a unique form of satire in his poems.”  ––Foreword Reviews, “Titles Worth Noting”

Awarded BEST COVER DESIGN 2010 by Coldfront Magazine

Following his debut collection, The New Year of Yellow (Sarabande, 2007), Matthew Lippman takes his unmistakable style of poetry through the next evolution. Monkey Bars reveals a father’s “dollar driven” panic – concern about his children growing up in a world without bees and libraries but with too many overmedicated Americans­­ – one where Warren Buffett is the only person with any money. Despite the litany of worries, Monkey Bars reveals a deep awe for the human spirit and doesn’t hesitate to offer laugh-out-loud moments, as in “Dewey Decimaling,” where the narrator suggests morose librarians wary of their future should “drink more beer before work,” and, “no one should wear a bra.” Without a doubt, Lippman replaces the “blah” in poetry with a brave and silly bite, confirming his voice as a major force in twenty-first-century literature.


Monkey Bars comes in a beautiful hardback edition. The pages are thick and delicious, cut flush with the cover so that it opens perfectly in the palm of your hand. Additionally, each book comes with a letterpress band on the front, designed by the fine folks at The Firecracker Press, who also lightly illustrate this edition inside and out using images inspired by the book itself.

Read an interview with Matthew Lippman