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 »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
William Matthews Poems
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.
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
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;
"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
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.
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
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
Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife He would have written sonnets all his life? DON JUAN, III, 63-4
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
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
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
February on the narrow beach, 3o A.M. I set out south. Cape Cod Light on its crumbling cliff above me turns its wand of light so steadily
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.
Foul Shots: A Clinic
Already this description is perilously abstract: the ball and basket are round, the nailhead
(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)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
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.
Do you like the scent of a hollyhock?
To each his own. I love a burning bridge.
I like to watch the small boat go over
the falls -- it swirls in a circle
like a dog coiling for sleep, and its frail bow
pokes blindly out over the falls' lip
a little and a little more and then
too much, and then the boat's nose dives and butt
flips up so that the boat points doomily
down and the screams of the ...