The Miracle Machine
Winner of the 2020 Gival Press Poetry Award
"Like a constellation in which perception and purpose are stars, The Miracle Machine is a fantastic poetic work.
Marrying poetry with fantasy, Matthew Pennock’s The Miracle Machine is a phenomenal trip that loops through time, following love and searching for meaning."
—Foreword Review/Clarion Rating: 5 out of 5
"19th-century automaton and other museum exhibits narrate this collection of poems . . .. Uncanny, heart-wrenching, and beautifully crafted poems by an original voice.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Vast in scope, passionately imagined, and constructed with as much ingenuity as the famed contraption at its narrative’s heart, Matthew Pennock’s second book hints at serious ontological questions as it invents its hero’s journey from automaton to autonomy. Like all contrivances that simulate human life, Pennock’s synthetic boy compels us to interrogate our own materiality, and to ask, if we are all just portions of the twisting / stew of particles and light assembled by mechanical chance, then what puts the lonely in us? Packed with insight and wit and told by a congress of oddities—the narration travels back and forth in time and juggles various perspectives, including that of a trained seal, a fortune teller machine, and both halves of P.T. Barnum’s bogus mermaid—The Miracle Machine is an irresistible, at times provocative, and often powerfully affecting book.”
—Timothy Donnelly, author of The Problem of Many
Dramatic reading of the book with actors. Click on the YouTube link:
Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
IBPA Ben Franklin Award for Poetry
Foreword Book Indies Awards for Poetry & Fantasy
Eric Hoffer Awards for Poetry & Fantasy
University of North Texas Rilke Prize
CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry
Society of Midland Authors Award for Poetry
Independent Press Award for Poetry
2021 Pushcart Prize for poem "Stretching Cosmological Space"
Matthew Pennock is the author of Sudden Dog (Alice James Books, 2012), which won the Kinereth-Gensler Award. As per the terms of that award, he joined the board of Alice James Books in 2011, In 2014, he co-created AJB—s editorial board with executive editor Carey Salerno, and then became the board—s first chairperson, a position he held until 2020. He received his MFA from Columbia University and his PhD from the University of Cincinnati. His poems have been widely published in such journals as Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, Western Humanities Review, Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics, New York Quarterly, LIT, and elsewhere. He currently owns and operates a learning center outside of Washington, D.C.