William Matthews

1942–1997
William Matthews

William Matthews was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and attended Yale University and the University of North Carolina. He served as the president of the Poetry Society of America and chair of the Literature Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts, taught at many universities, and published ten volumes of poems. In his poetry, Matthews dismisses intense, immediate emotions, choosing instead to write with a classical objectivity and intelligent wit while exploring uses of language and his own relationship to poetry. In “Mingus at the Showplace,” Matthews displays his humor and self-awareness as he relates poetry to another of his passions, jazz.

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"Sure, I'd had to recite Paul Revere's Ride, or what have you, but I didn't know how expansive and powerful poetry actually was. I am a better thinker, a better listener, a better performer, a better entertainer, a better and wiser and more helpful human being because of POL."
Lawson Marchetti
2015 MS POL Champion