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These are not the potatoes of my youth

These are not the potatoes of my youth

You let him channel his inner amphibian


up to his brainstem, a floating head of metamorphosis,

and dives to where the water is mostly leeches, yet he recovers


your shoes that you were sure had died, an old vacuum, a '64 dime.

He is your father for a day


at the river, who leaves when the flowers close, when bees go

back to their honeycombs. He drinks, gargles


in the bathroom, his practice of ranges, vocals and your father floats

out, he's laughing that he's actually touched bottom.



In this confessional debut collection, Matthew Walsh meanders through his childhood in rural Nova Scotia, later roaming across the prairies and through the railway cafés of Alberta to the love letters and graffiti of Vancouver. In this nomadic journey, he explores queer identity set against an ever-changing landscape of what we want, and who we are, were, and came to be.

Walsh is a storyteller in verse, his poems laced with catholic “sensibilities” and punctuated with Maritime vernacular. In These Are Not the Potatoes of my Youth, he illuminates the complex choreography of family, the anxiety of individuality, and the ambiguous histories of stories erased, forgotten, or suppressed. Readers will find moments of humour, surprise, and a queer realization that all is not what it seems.

Matthew Walsh hails from the eastern shore of Nova Scotia and has twice travelled by bus across Canada. His poems may be found in the Malahat Review, Arc, Existere, Matrix, Carousel, and Geist. He now lives in Toronto.

90 pages
Pub date: February 26, 2019