Rock Stars


Matt Mason, 2023


Witty, nostalgic, rhythmic and forlorn, Matt Mason’s poetry calls on the classic rock music that shaped him. Mason laments on his childhood in the 80s and addresses the graduating preschool class of 2023, as he takes us on the coming-of-age roadtrip of a lifetime. An ode and ovation to what our ears taught us before we knew what to say, Rock Stars riffs on all things music, poetry, sports, and more. You’ll be itching with anticipation to flip over the tape, and see what the next track has in store.

Matt Mason's Rock Stars Companion Spotify Playlist

Praise for Matt Mason

Rock Stars is a book of poetry with a fierce beat, a book you can dance to! Mason’s poems invoke Blondie, the Go-Go’s, Prince, Poison, Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, Flock of Seagulls, Blue Oyster Cult, Lionel Richie, David Bowie—just to name a few. (Truly! There’s more . . .) As nostalgic as the surface noise of a needle hitting a vinyl record, these poems will transport you back to the 80’s. But lest you think Mason is stuck in the past, his stunning poems are also road maps for the young. In fact, who but Matt Mason, can write a poem “Graduation Address to the Kinder Kingdom Awesome Tots Preschool Class of 2023”? This book is delightful in every way!”

— Denise Duhamel, author of Second Story

“Matt Mason’s Rock Stars lifts joyful noise across the austerity as it vacillates between nostalgia for the 80s and the demands of the present. There’s wry humor in the poems, as they convene with canonical poets, stay true to hair bands, new wave bands, alt-rock bands, and as they elevate toward homilies. Rock Stars is rich with allusions which delight like little Easter Eggs. It’s an abundant and dazzling paean to the songs and souls that fascinate us.”

— Michael Kleber-Diggs, author of Worldly Things

“Matt Mason’s poems have energy. Matt Mason’s poems have drive, and craft, and heart, and excitement, and funny lines like “I want to see two words rhyme / who never thought of each other that way before” —lines which harken back to other things Mason’s poems have, such as tenderness and wildness and celebrations of young and other kinds of love—love of music, family, laughter, and good poems, which, by the way, Matt Mason’s Rock Stars is full of.”

— Charles Harper Webb, author of Sidebend World and Ursula Lake

“Imagine being introduced to the musicians responsible for the soundtrack of the 1980s, along with the poets of the 1820s and 1930s. Then imagine being invited with them on a long car ride through your favorite concerts, your fiery consciences, and to your final concerns. Matt Mason is at the wheel and this book is a mixtape—an ode and ovation to what our ears taught us before we knew what to say. Back then, we made these tapes not just to capture the sound, but as an attempt at an emotional mnemic, to capture a very specific feeling of time and to pass that time on to those we love. The people and the sounds eulogized herein aren’t necessarily gone, but their mentorship—that which is very somewhat responsible for the beat-nik-boxing of Matt’s heart—deserves no better epitaph than the one you are about to spin. Matt clearly loves us.”

— Mighty Mike McGee, Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Emeritus, 2018–2019

About Matt Mason

Matt Mason is the Nebraska State Poet and, through the US State Department, has run poetry programs in Botswana, Romania, Nepal and Belarus. Mason is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the Academy of American… MORE

Additional information

Weight6 oz
Dimensions8.5 × 5.5 × .3125 in

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Publication Date

September 5, 2023

Page Count




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Audiobook ISBN