Between two plastic ballerinas.


by Glen Armstrong

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He also edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters.

What more can you tell us about “Consciousness”?

I do remember struggling to make a bigger statement. Early versions of this poem tried too hard, in too many words, to capture a state of mind where the speaker feels out of place, melancholic, nostalgic . . . The four words that remain were ultimately the only ones I trusted. The title came last, and though I worried about the whole being too flippant, too Zen, I thought it might at least work as a quirky puzzle, the quick sort of thing I enjoyed in Richard Brautigan’s poetry books when I was younger.

Given time, I was happier with the sound of the thing, the thingness of the thing. “Between” has more to do with awareness than I realized, and that drive to make things such as plastic ballerinas never strikes me as a waste of one’s consciousness.


Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

Matter Press is now offering private flash fiction workshops and critiques of flash fiction collections here.


Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now open. The reading period for standard submissions closes again December 15, 2023. Submit here.


11/27 • Michael Mark
12/04 • Helen Beer
12/11 • Rachel Rodman
12/18 • Betsy Robinson
12/25 • Trish Hopkinson
12/31 • Kim Chinquee
01/01 • Jill Michelle