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by Matthew James Babcock
Expansive, exuberant, and relentlessly eclectic, Matthew James Babcock’s debut essay collection, Heterodoxologies, mixes the long view with the quick glance to examine every abstruse angle of a life lived in the Rocky Mountain Northwest. Those pieces long enough to change a life—ruminations on breakdancing and bullying, body dysmorphic disorder and virginity—sit cheek-by-jowl with breezy snapshots on assassins, roller rinks, and bowling alleys—dashes of nonfiction short enough to read while you wait for the traffic light to change. Even if you’ve never had an imagined conversation with Jane Austen, or been awakened from a dream visit to a fictional town in Indiana, if you’ve never been smitten with scabies or watched your brother’s garage band make it most of the way out of the garage, Heterodoxologies reminds us that the flipside of our expectations is exactly what we need.
Matthew James Babcock teaches creative writing and literature at BYU-Idaho. He holds a PhD in Literature and Criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His scholarly work can be found in The Journal of Ecocriticism and Private Fire: The Ecopoetry and Prose of Robert Francis (University of Delaware Press). He received the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Award and first place in Press 53’s novella contest for “He Wanted to Be a Cartoonist for The New Yorker.” He has been thrice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and twice listed as “notable” in Best American Essays. His debut poetry collection, Points of Reference, is available from Folded Word, and his follow-up poetry collection, Strange Terrain, is forthcoming from Mad Hat.
COVER ART BY CHRISTA CARLETON