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

Spock as a Metaphor for the Construction of Race During My Childhood

Consider the mathematics of my German father.

The unconditional tears of my Filipino mother.


Call me Spock, but it was logic versus emotion

every day on Earth.


Out in space, there are over a million miles

between asteroids in an asteroid field.

It’s pretty much impossible to hit one unless you actually aim for it.


Not so on Star Trek. There, they have to grit their teeth,

put their shields up, crash a couple times and assess the damage.

As kid, I was amazed by the skill of those spacemen,

“skill” which I soon realized was nothing more than sheer incompetence.

Hitting an asteroid? There’s just no excuse for that.


A modest revelation. But these revelations

strung themselves together, orbited the planet

in ways that messed with things like gravity and light.

It went like this: You knew you could fly

until your first attempt left you with two broken teeth.

You knew you were like all the other kids,

until your best friend said, No, you’re not.


And he was right.

And in that moment, something shifted.

The galaxy became real, and in its realness, the asteroids

seemed so much closer than you thought.

You were half-alien, staring down an eternity

that was both limitless and dangerous

as a captain’s voice boomed from above:

Brace for impact, we’re going down.






Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Childhood & Coming of Age


Intersectionality & Culture

Pop Culture

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem