an American poet and essayist.
Raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Matthews earned a bachelor's degree from Yale University, and a master's from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In addition to serving as a Writer-in-Residence at Boston's Emerson College, Matthews held various academic positions at institutions including Cornell University, the University of Washington (Seattle), the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of Iowa. He served as president of Associated Writing Programs and of the Poetry Society of America. At the time of his death he was a professor of English and director of the creative writing program at City College of New York ... more »
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William Matthews Poems
A Poetry Reading At West Point
I read to the entire plebe class, in two batches. Twice the hall filled with bodies dressed alike, each toting a copy of my book. What would my
I like divorce. I love to compose letters of resignation; now and then I send one in and leave in a lemon- hued Huff or a Snit with four on the floor.
What did I think, a storm clutching a clarinet and boarding a downtown bus, headed for lessons? I had pieces to learn by heart, but at twelve
"First, do no harm," the Hippocratic Oath begins, but before she might enjoy such balm, the docs had to harm her tumor. It was large, rare, and so anomalous
Homer's Seeing-Eye Dog
Most of the time he worked, a sort of sleep with a purpose, so far as I could tell. How he got from the dark of sleep to the dark of waking up I'll never know;
Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife He would have written sonnets all his life? DON JUAN, III, 63-4
Mingus At The Showplace
I was miserable, of course, for I was seventeen and so I swung into action and wrote a poem and it was miserable, for that was how I thought
On The Porch At The Frost Place, Francon...
So here the great man stood, fermenting malice and poems we have to be nearly as fierce against ourselves as he
Poem (The lump of coal my parents teased...
The lump of coal my parents teased I'd find in my Christmas stocking turned out each year to be an orange, for I was their sunshine.
A Happy Childhood
My mother stands at the screen door, laughing. “Out out damn Spot,” she commands our silly dog. I wonder what this means. I rise into adult air
A Roadside Near Ithaca
Here we picked wild strawberries, though in my memory we're neither here nor missing. Or I'd scuff out by myself at dusk, proud
the only parts of the body the same size at birth as they'll always be. 'That's why all babies are beautiful,' Thurber used to say as he grew
Usually I stay up late, my time alone. Tonight at 9o I can tell I'm only awake long enough to put my sons to bed.
A Life Of Crime
Frail friends, I love you all! Maybe that's the trouble, storm in the eye of a storm. Everyone wants too much.
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
A Poetry Reading At West Point
I read to the entire plebe class,
in two batches. Twice the hall filled
with bodies dressed alike, each toting
a copy of my book. What would my
shrink say, if I had one, about
such a dream, if it were a dream?
Question and answer time.
"Sir," a cadet yelled from the balcony,
and gave his name and rank, and then,
closing his parentheses, yelled
"Sir" again. "Why do your poems give
me a headache when I try
to understand them?" he asked. "Do
you want that?" I have a gift for
gentle jokes to defuse tension,
but this was not the time to use ...