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Husbandry: Poems

Matthew Dickman

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W. W. Norton & Company
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Guided by acclaimed poet Matthew Dickman's signature "clarity and ability to engage" (David Kirby, New York Times), Husbandry is a love song from a father to his children. Written after a separation and during overwhelming single-fatherhood in the early days of COVID-19 lockdowns, Husbandry refuses romantic notions of parenting and embraces all its mess, anguish, humor, fear, boredom, and warmth.

Dickman composes these poems entirely in vivid couplets that animate the various domestic pairs of broken-up parents, two sons, love and grief. He explores the terrain of his children's dreams and nightmares, the almost primal fears that spill into his own, and the residual impacts of his parents' failures. Threading his anxieties with bright moments of beauty and gratitude, the volume delights in seeing the world through the clear eyes of childhood and finds meaning in the domestic work--repetitive, exhausting, and sublime--of sustaining three lives.

With tender, aching precision, Husbandry reveals the poet's hunger to be a husband without ever being one, and his search for a father that ends with becoming one himself.