William Matthews Poems
- A Poetry Reading At West Point I read to the entire plebe ...
- A Happy Childhood My mother stands at the screen door, ...
- No Return I like divorce. I love to compose letters of ...
- The Blues What did I think, a storm clutching a clarinet and...
- Job Interview Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife ...
- Foul Shots: A Clinic Already this description is perilously...
- Eyes the only parts of the body the same size at birth as ...
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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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 ...