"The title Crumpled Paper Dolls set the scene for many of the poems in the first volume. Women, in both volumes, are like dolls--paper or porcelain. They crumple or they shatter. They are like little girls, appearing to be innocent and promising eternal love, but are actually Lolitas (as in the poem 'Mother Fries Chicken'), at first tempting and then betraying.... Nolan says that the flagship poem of this volume [Exhuming Juliet] is the poem 'The Juliets,' in which he remembers the polite and perfect young women who flattered his mother, promised to love him forever, and eventually melted away like the wicked witch of the west, leaving nothing but rotting taffeta behind. In one poem ('Daughter') the poet imagines how he would bring up a daughter, carefully teaching her how not to be a Juliet. He declares that she 'won't be strung like a puppet.' " READ MORE
--Penne J. Laubenthal, RiverVue Feature Editor, Swampland.com
"Nolan bravely shares his sweet and sensitive side as he writes about the beauty of love in its purest form. Many of Nolan's poems are infused with an overdose of sensuality and straight up sex. I blushed my way through it, partly feeling like I was an intruder spying on the intimacy of a couple while the other part was delighted and eagerly turning the page like I was reading a steamy Harlequin. The poems that I refer to as Hate Love were unsettling to read, as again I felt as though I was watching as an intruder, yet this time witnessing all the horrible things that people do to one another while claiming to love." READ MORE
--Crystal Clemons, Author of Only Words, Times Beach Magazine
What Readers Are Saying...
"Just to say that Matthew Nolan's book of poems and prose is beautiful would be a thin description of a piece that is layered with varying and complex feelings that are never just joyful or sad, grateful or resentful. There are moments that wrap the reader in warmth and others that are sharp and difficult to read, because it forces him to look at a side of himself that he may have long since locked away. Nolan sees the world in a beautiful and intensely sensitive way, even the horrible and cruel. To this poet the colors of the earth are deep and saturated; every sound is crisp and clear. For him the world is a magical place. He merely writes what he sees."
"Oh Matthew... your work brings a myriad of emotions... (laughter..tears..insanity), this is outstanding work. I love the way you draw the reader in and keep them in your realm. You have proved yourself wonderfully with vivid imagery while unleashing empathy and solace. After reading your journals I stood in my kitchen, clad in yellow rubber gloves and wept. Wanting to sweep up and console that dire soul. I have been a basket case the whole time I've read the "prose" blocking out everything but the pages. The poetry is spiced with neurotic inspiration while rooted in realistic impressions. This book has become a favorite that I carry around everywhere!"
"Crumpled Paper Dolls is proof of a life uncommon, unabridged, unforgettable. Assuredly, a life less ordinary. Matthew's words, although uncomfortable at times, are hauntingly familiar. He reels you in with his tortured melodies and keeps you bound to him with his brave honesty and hope. Matthew is revealing to the point that I almost feel like an intruder at times. He shares his journey through life, love, and the pursuit of oneness. I will always cherish this book. I have my face, heart, soul, and mind in it all the time."
"Matthew Nolan's writing is like a punch in the stomach, the vivid imagery hitting you with all of the senses. Raw, Gritty, and Sexual, his prose and journal entries take you to the dark places of your mind where few fear to tread... Could have easily read in one sitting, a definite page turner. I would highly recommend this book to anyone."
"If Sylvia Plath and Stan Rice were to somehow have an illegitimate son, his name would be Matthew Nolan. Nolan doesn't touch on important topics--he dives into them with a suicidal passion. He will shine a light in the dark recesses of your mind and show you there is no outside force to fear."
"Crumpled Paper Dolls captivated me from the very first page. I was led into a world that is so unlike mine and yet I found myself relating to the emotion, the intensity of his words. Each word is so beautifully chosen, so real and honest. He will take you into the artist's New Orleans and leave you wanting more."
"Words that cut you in the deepest way... Matthew Nolan writes about the darkness in man, the darkness in all of us, the darkness in himself. These are words that will cut you in the deepest way. His visceral poetry and his revealing journal entries will stay with you. If you get ahold of this fine work, you will become a participant in his triumphs, his mistakes, his pain, his sorrow, and his glory. Ultimately you'll find your way into his heart. You won't be disappointed."
"Before you know it, you are taking notes, snapping mental pictures and asking earnest questions. It's not an easy trip but Nolan is a seasoned professional and eases up on the gas just when it seems your own fears and concerns might send you careening off the road. No one understands a poet's job better than he does. You'll be thinking. You'll be feeling. You'll be wincing and cringing. You won't be able to stop reading until this New Orleans poet brings you and everyone else to his intended destination. Only then can you take your woozy head and shaky legs and head back to the world you came from - the one that will never be the same after being on the Matthew Nolan Express."
"A wonderful book! It takes twists and turns that are unexpected, with words sometimes razor sharp. It's a very realistic look at life. Honest, and sometimes sad within its honesty. It's life as we know it, but don't always say it."
"Brutally honest and dark. Provocative. Matthew's prose will make you ask tough questions. His poetry reflects the reality of situations. Funny and true... I've read and re-read the book. Different poems hit home each time I read it. A wonderful work!"
"Brutally Beautiful. There is a distinct dichotomy between the subject matter and the words Nolan uses to describe it: The former is sharp enough to cut through your soul, while the latter is angelic and beautiful. Taking on matters most don't want to shine a light on, Nolan takes your hand and shows you that it can be scary, but cathartic at the same time. Not since Anne Sexton have I enjoyed having my emotions stirred so fiercely. A must read for any lover of poetry and any lover of honest life."
Copyright © 2004-2017 Matthew Nolan