Winter Poems

Matthew Dickman

Winter has arrived in Portland.

Even though I grew up here, this part of the year always gets to me. I know now, for certain, that spring is far away and no longer do we have the fall leaves shining over us in the afternoon; all of them being blown off by the wind only to receive the awful half burial our neighbors offer with Leaf-Blowers. It makes me want to hide under the covers for three months.

This kind of weather, this kind of winter dark, can take what creative energy you have and refocus it on dark beer and naps. I might be projecting a little but I think you know what I mean. Of course there’s always a remedy for the winter blues. It comes in many different prescriptions (the high birth rate during the months of April and May reflects one of the most popular!), though art is one of my favorite remedies. And who better to turn to for medicine than both a visual and literary artist. For my part I think the poet and artist Jen Bervin is a great cure—particularly her beautiful chapbook from Ugly Duckling Press titled the silver book.

This beautiful long poem begins:

date the paper—it’s your early work—

date the spaces—it’s late—

write—be late with you—


It’s late as the poem begins but it’s your early work, that is, you are alive in the world! The poem takes off from there like a silver rush of restorative, beautiful, energetic, blood we all need:

tell me—who touched you all winter—

tell me who—you’ll remember—in



Read this chapbook, discover Jen Bervin’s work online or in a gallery, and you will see how winter is only a few dark beers away from being spring again.