Matthew Walsh is a queer poet from Nova Scotia, Canada. Born in Halifax, they grew up just outside Musquodobit Harbour, along the eastern shore. Walsh grew up on the ocean in a small fishing community nestled in the armpit of Nova Scotia. Small towns and rural settings have influenced and found their way into the poems in These are not the potatoes of my youth.
Poems in this collection range from long, free-wheeling long poems, character sketches, and meditations all set against the backdrop of the Canadian Landscape. Adventures on the Greyhound, visitations from ghosts and psychics and all encapsulate this collection which interrogates what it means to be an individual in a place where you are taught to act “normal” despite what you feel and what you have come to desire most.
Like a bus ride itself, Walsh’s collection of poems veers off the road into surprising territory and moves the reader through moments of awe and trauma laced with humour and a quick wit.
Walsh explores his queer identity while travelling the vast Canadian Landscape, from Nova Scotia, to areas of Quebec, Banff, and finally Vancouver.
The collection examines family relationships and how that history is passed down, changed, and sometimes forgotten, not unlike the Telephone Game from childhood.
Walsh chronicles with seriousness and humour the complexities of growing up as a queer person in a small town and inside a religious community. The collection also a deeply personal introspection on what it means to grapple with your queer identity in a heavily homophobic environment, filled with a mix of pop culture, queer experiences, and maritime charm.
Matthew reads "Couch Potato" from their collection These are not the potatoes of my youth.
Matthew reads "George" from their collection These are not the potatoes of my youth.
Matthew reads "Moonshot" from their collection These are not the potatoes of my youth.
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Matthew Walsh completed an MFA at The University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing program, where some of the poems were written. Their work can be found in The Malahat Review, Plenitude, Train: A Journal, and is forthcoming with Pulp Literature.
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Thanks very much to Nathaniel at Goose Lane Editions and to Matthew Walsh for providing readings from their collection. These are not the potatoes of my youth is available to read now!