Reading from my MFA thesis, Spalding University 2008


As a poet, I have studied under George Eklund, Debra Kang Dean, Molly Peacock, Greg Pape, and Jeanie Thompson. I hold an MFA in Poetry from Spalding University. My poems have appeared in numerous national and regional literary journals including Midwest Quarterly, American Life in Poetry, The Louisville Review, and The Journal of Kentucky Studies. A Pushcart Prize and AWP Intro Award nominee, I was the 2009 winner of the Danny Miller Memorial Award. My chapbook Kentucky Lullaby was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018.

Journal Publications

“Hair Cut.” Oyster River Pages. Fall, 2018.

“Only Red.” Zane Traces. Spring, 2017.

“To the One-Armed Crawdad Who Pinched My Son.” Fiction Fix: Poetry FixSummer, 2015.

“The River.” Red Lion Square. July, 2010. 

“Libation.” Literary Mama. June, 2010.

“Poem at Sulphur Hollow,” “The Willow,” and “The Shapes of Leaves.” Journal of Kentucky Studies. September, 2009.

“Penny Horse” and “Measurements.” Literary Mama. June, 2009.

Evening Song,” “The Box,” “Fractures,” “Instructions to a Child on a Swing,” and “On Finding Maggots.” Semantikon: A Community Based Art Journal. May, 2009.

“Holler” and “Semantics.” Inscape. Spring, 2009.

“Lunar Eclipse.” Midwest Quarterly. Fall, 2008.

“Hide and Seek” and “A Question.” Public Republic. October, 2008.

Wild Flowers.” Reprint.  American Life in Poetry no. 206. Fall, 2008.

“Wild Flowers.” The Louisville Review no. 63. Spring, 2008.

“Ode to Tchaikovsky.” New Southerner: An Anthology 2007-08. Louisville, KY: Swallowtail Press, 2008.

“The Workshop,” “Hunger,” and “The Fruit of the Roach.”  Coe ReviewFall, 2007.

Poetry Collections

Kentucky Lullaby. Lousiville, KY: Finishing Line Press, 2018.

** Kentucky Lullaby is now available from Finishing Line Press at and at

Praise for Kentucky Lullaby

“Use the commonplace to escape the commonplace,” Buson wrote, and that is precisely what Matthew Vetter does in Kentucky Lullaby, a carefully arranged collection of poems that opens with a child’s careless act, a kind of original sin, that reverberates through time. This is a book of self-reckoning; it is a record of a father, who, keenly aware of the hurt a father unwittingly inflicts on his sons in pursuit of freedom, must find his own way of being a husband and father. With an unswerving commitment to the truth of feeling, Matthew Vetter takes on the vexing question of free will—the kind of idea one of my teachers used to call “big medicine.” Traveling wide and deep while staying close to home, Kentucky Lullaby is a book to live with, to read and to read again.

–Debra Kang Dean, author of Fugitive Blues

Matthew Vetter’s Kentucky Lullaby is a deep and beautiful celebration of the lyric tradition. These poems are offered in a striking, mature voice formed out of Vetter’s exquisite relationship with language, the self, and the world. While the images, settings, and actions are tinged richly with tonalities of the southern highlands, the poems bring us to the core of the universal experiences found in family life touched by the paradoxes and ontological mysteries. I admire the deep-hearted intelligence of these poems, their sweet ferocities and tender courage. Kentucky Lullaby is a stunning debut that keeps blossoming with each reading.

–George Eklund, author of Wanting to Be an Element