The highest lyric works are those in which the subject, with no remaining trace of mere matter, sounds forth in language until language itself acquires a voice.
It is our duty, to matter.
— Alexander Chee
Matter is an online journal of poetry, political commentary, prose, and visual media, established with the intention of de-stigmatizing and expanding the definition of “political poetry,” too often associated, in the West, with polemical verse. Matter aims to break down structural divides between labor and capital, aesthetics and politics. Formal games, conceptual poetry, humor and other creative employments of language can yet be preserved as tools for resignification, crucial to avoid becoming passive witnesses to spectacle culture, neoliberal expansion, and the corporate state. The macrocosm is the microcosm: the intimate is the global. And, alongside other definitions, there remains, too, Shelley’s definition of poetry: a legislative act.
If language itself and its connotative powers can be deconstructed, abstracted, and reduced to cliche, it can also be remade, so as to transform and critique culture. It is our privilege to care: to make the literary arts matter, regardless of market price, and engage with political injustices through verse. For a better idea of what we mean, please read through our past issues: contributors thus far include CA Conrad, Fady Joudah, David Lau, Sandra Simonds, Bernadette Mayer, Matt Hart, Timothy Liu, Natalie Shapero, Marci Vogel, Todd Fredson, Sarah Vap, Joyelle McSweeney, Eunsong Kim, Khadijah Queen, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, and many more. We occasionally feature guest-curated issues, as well.
(Please note that our site is best viewed from the web, and not in a mobile or rss feed.)
Matter celebrated its one-year anniversary of publication in March, 2014, with a Chicago reading at Matilda’s!
Contributors and editors reading for our anniversary (pictured below): Gene Tanta, Holly Amos, Lina Ramona Vitkauskas, Jen Karmin, Laura Goldstein, H.V. Cramond, Carrie Olivia Adams, Virginia Konchan and Glenn Shaheen.