Paperback Price: $15.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-882295-98-2

Selected Poem

Hello Earth,

I walk through you like a secret agent, a spy.
I wear my body like an eviction notice.
I learn your language just to say goodbye.

My passport is a revolving door. My
astrological sign is an exit ramp. I practice
your language just to say goodbye.

I memorize your customs only to deny
their validity. Here are my diagrams, my concise
reports—like a secret agent’s. A spy

in the Land of Endless Theory. I apply
no pressure to the wound. I let it all hiss
out, the way I learn your language to say goodbye.

We are never here for long. I ally
myself to the minus sign, then confess
to you like a secret agent. A spy

would understand this place, the high
cost of disappearing. Let’s not play nice—
I enter like a secret agent, a spy,
then learn your language just to say goodbye.


“Reading a book of poems is not unlike entering into a conversation. A good conversation is punctuated by moments of gravity and levity, wherein secrets are confided, wisecracks made, and trust earned. Mezzanines is a good conversation—one you’ll want to revisit and, once there, won’t want to leave.”
Asian American Writers’ Workshop Review

“Quirky, zany, more than a little surreal, Matthew Olzmann’s Mezzanines contains at least one outrageous surprise on almost every page.”
The Santa Barbara Independent

“[Mezzanines is] engaging and surprising throughout.”

“Uniting magical realism with kernels of profound sentiment, the poems in Mezzanines exist in a parallel world, one that is uncanny in its strangeness while still being familiar enough to relate to.”
The Volta Blog

“Olzmann’s ability to look at one thing and see another gives Mezzanines a quality of magical realism. . . . The combination of the beautiful and the ugly, the real and imaginative, the marvelous and the devastating. . . makes it one of the most emotionally Gordian and yet exuberant collections in recent memory. ”
32 Poems

“There’s something inherently spiritual about Olzmann’s Mezzanines. . . . It’s a place of reflection and contemplation, a temporary reprieve from the world’s chaos and a reach for a vision of paradise.”
The Los Angeles Review of Books

“. . .the poems [in Mezzanines] have doors that open and invite you inside. The rooms of the house may be odd, and the stairwells may lead in strange directions, but you, as the reader, remain beckoned. [Olzmann] hasn’t invited you in just to leave you. He’s got stories to tell, and they’re good.”
The Huffington Post Blog

“[Olzmann] uses his frank yet witty nature to observe the world and offer new perspectives.”
—The Midwest Book Review

“With great empathy and imagination, and plentiful dashes of humor and wit, Matthew Olzmann enters spaces we don’t normally dwell in. Inside these spaces the world is in dazzling motion, and when we step back out we, too, are set spinning.”
The American Literary Review

“Olzmann’s masterful debut heralds the arrival of a delightful and daring poetry that scorches and coils its way through galaxies, strip malls, and the intricacies of the human body. With a wickedly delightful wisdom at its core, Mezzanines practices the most graceful kind of alchemy—its greatest strength is how it turns tiny heartbreaks into a bright and satisfying beauty.”
—Aimee Nezhukumatathil

“Olzmann has an outsider’s wit and a border crosser’s slick vision. From seam, threshold, and cut, these poems navigate the galactic and the aquatic, the immediate and the imaginary, the reasonable and the American. He’s amused by his own bewilderment. What’s more, he manages to never abandon love. Olzmann’s skilled play, terrific ear, and immense heart make Mezzanines a must-read.”
—Patrick Rosal

“With Mezzanines Matthew Olzmann has given us a vibrant new poetry, as soulful as it is funny. Sci-fi and snake charms, love poems, ship wrecks, and a dash of artful self-parody—the materials of his narratives come from all over the cosmos to find, in this wonderful poet’s hands, a shape crackling with power that’s connective, convincing, and true.”
—David Baker

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