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80 pages
Published:   April 2, 2024
Poetry  /  Queer Lit  /  icehouse poetry
Paperback:   9781773103327    $19.95

Raw, confessional, and often messy, Terrarium continues Matthew Walsh’s exploration of Queer identity and desire against the lonely highs and lows of depression and addiction.

In this new collection, Walsh begins where their debut collection, These are not the potatoes of my youth, left off. Writing in their trademark conversational style, Walsh wanders from Toronto parkettes “with remnants of magnolia leaves” to California, “a long/black cocktail dress the night lights/amethyst and citrine against the arm/muscle of the sea,” their voice intimate and exposed, a whisper between friends or lovers.

And then, when they ruminate on influences and themes as diverse as the poetry of Frank O’Hara and Gwendolyn MacEwen, the vagaries of Instagram, and the reimagination of Miss Havisham in a Toronto bathhouse, they offer readers the opportunity to think deeply or laugh loudly, reaching out to close the gap between us.
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Matthew Walsh grew up in Nova Scotia and now lives in Toronto. Their poems have appeared in Joyland, the Capra Review, the Antigonish Review, the Malahat Review, and Geist; in a chapbook entitled ICQ; and in their celebrated book-length collection These are not the potatoes of my youth, a finalist for the Trillium and Gerald Lampert Awards.


“I want to grab a coffee with the speaker of Terrarium. I want to walk around with them and listen to all the funny deep things they have to say about art and what they did last night and the bizarre things that live on the internet. I want to go off on a tangent with the speaker of Terrarium and never come back and end up in some bar, at last call, drinking whatever a curdled birthday cake shot is. This book brought to mind the line by Wallace Stevens, “And there I found myself more truly and more strange.” This is a strange book, brilliant and true.” — Kayla Czaga, author of Midway

“I’ll never fully understand how Matthew Walsh manages to document life so cleanly. What I do understand is my need to read and reread all of it — the dreams, the waking life stories, the persistent doubts, the powerful desires.” — Ben Ladouceur, author of Mad Long Emotion

“In Terrarium, Matthew Walsh builds a world teeming with donkey statues, deer skeletons, and howling dogs, gentle and unsettling observations of daily life, and the wry wisdom of a tender, visionary voice. These brilliant and devastating poems of intimacy and estrangement are a masterclass in understatement and the subtle music of the poetic line. What a joy to peer inside Walsh’s “wet mysterious brain” and live awhile in the compulsive, whirling universe of these poems.” — Cassidy McFadzean, author of Crying Dress

“Toronto poet Matthew Walsh’s second collection is a fragile negotiation with the confusion and worry of how to be fully human in our modern world.” — That Shakespearean Rag