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Praise for Hitch

“Matthew Holmes brings us to the end of his rope with a nuanced precision, knots the words there, turns and pulls. This first collection of poems thrives and opens words’ weight and duration, their tie to seasons and people, to houses and neighbours, in all the gentleness and harshness that those sites can harbour. Holmes’ is a music that ponders gently, or ponderates, ponder-aerates, brings in air clear and rhythms varied and numinous. And best, we are not tethered by what he hitches us to, for as he writes, generously, ‘the premise of tying’ is, yes and ever, ‘to untie.’”
—Erín Moure

Hitch is a solid debut distinguished by Holmes’ far-ranging versatility with such varied work as the "science fictions’; lyrics like ‘the tension of love and windows’; a lament for dog show losers; and the short, taut, disciplined poems of part iv, Coal Smoke Dreams, including the standout ‘reliquaries of trees.’”
— Steven Heighton


“Holmes’ poems are wonderfully ghazal-like in their soft, surreal leaps and open links, like riding a small series of waves off into the sea. In this collection of graceful and beautiful short poems, [Hitch], it would be difficult to quote from every piece that jumps out, because it would make me quote from nearly every page.... This has to be one of the most attractive poetry collections I’ve seen in a while, with the surreal softness of the physical book itself corresponding completely with the text... Where Holmes finds his greatest strength is in the small moment, the small image that washes over through just how well its brevity is kept, and put together, in strange humour and a quick wit. Underplaying instead of overplaying, I couldn’t recommend this book more, and can do little more than simply let the work speak for itself."
— rob mclennan

“Ask any old sailor worth his salt: the purpose of a hitch is to tie the best possible line - to wrap around an object and cinch down tight. Therein lies the aim of New Brunswick poet Matthew Holmes’s first collection, a literary knot that binds a diverse group of subjects... what lies at the centre is a methodology that is simultaneously far-reaching and personal, and ripe with mytho-poetic biographies, rich metaphors... and well-drawn figures on loan from the poet’s life and imagination.”
-David Hickey, Quill & Quire

“New Brunswick poet Matthew Holmes... demonstrates his affinity for the inanimate in his first collection of poems, Hitch. With impressive skill, Holmes tackles such topics as ‘The Life and Evolution of Dust Bunnies,’ ‘A Local History of the Air Conditioner,’ and ‘The Trials and Exiles of Fridges.’ Naturally, this is not poetry without a sense of humour. It is to Holmes’ credit that even when addressing weightier topics, he can still infuse them with a dry, self-reflexive wit.”
-Ezra Glinter, McGill Tribune

“Holmes’ method is precise, almost clinical at times, and yet unpredictable enough to sustain and recreate interest with an intensity signalled by the poem’s image of Degas ‘writing [flying horses] on glass’: ‘there is no way to stop things.’ ... What Steven Heighton has called Holmes’ versatility is apt not only to formal and tonal variations within this work, but to the range of embedded allusion, or perhaps simply influence, from the obvious homage to bp Nichol to the speculative gestures of a Christopher Dewdney.”
-Daniel Burgoyne, Canadian Literature

“The poems in Matthew Holmes’ Hitch explore particular tensions between the philosophical and the day-to-day… what stays with me afterwards are the ‘science fictions’ and their monstrous leaps of the imagination, the sublime insight in poems like “a moveable,” and the accomplished playfulness of ‘Hitch.’ All lead us to imagine some new philosophy that connects the unrepresentable and the minutiae... Holmes and [Michael] Knox are preoccupied with the tough knots, the unspeakable, and the unimagined around us. Read carefully with breath. These are two important new voices.”
–R.W. Gray, The Malahat Review


"Matthew Holmes’s debut volume is extremely varied in style and poetic mode. It contains some conventional meditative and anecdotal lyrics, some playfully ‘pataphysical’ prose poems, some tightly compressed imagist miniatures, and a title sequence (‘Hitch’) that incorporates visual elements and a degree of typographical play."
—Malcolm Woodland, University of Toronto Quarterly

"It is one of the best responses I ever have toward a new book of poetry: that it is a reward, a delight, bar none. ... [Holmes] is inventive, allusive, darkly humorous, and sometimes quiet, a mixture of skills that invites a comparison to, say, Don McKay."
-Michael DeBeyer, The Fiddlehead

Holmes' poetry is easily the best debut collection I have read this year. One of the most impressive things about it is his ability to tie topics together...thus weaving beautiful works that emphasize the overlying idea of his book: knots.
-Benjamin Dunfield, The Argosy