Matthew Olzmann


Matthew Olzmann (?-present) is a mixed race poet from Detroit, Michigan. He received his BA from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. Olzmann is the author of the collections Mezzanines and Contradictions in the Design and currently teaches at Dartmouth College and MFA program at Warren Wilson College. Source

Letter to Someone Living Fifty Years from Now

Most likely, you think we hated the elephant,

the golden toad, the thylacine and all variations

of whale harpooned or hacked into extinction.


It must seem like we sought to leave you nothing

but benzene, mercury, the stomachs

of seagulls rippled with jet fuel and plastic. 


You probably doubt that we were capable of joy,

but I assure you we were.


We still had the night sky back then,

and like our ancestors, we admired

its illuminated doodles

of scorpion outlines and upside-down ladles.


Absolutely, there were some forests left!

Absolutely, we still had some lakes!


I’m saying, it wasn’t all lead paint and sulfur dioxide.

There were bees back then, and they pollinated

a euphoria of flowers so we might

contemplate the great mysteries and finally ask,

“Hey guys, what’s transcendence?”


And then all the bees were dead.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Doubt & Fear


Literary Devices:


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered