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.

What People are Saying

"I learned just how much deeper your understanding of a poem is when you memorize it than when you just read it a couple of times, and how you understand it a little better every single time you recite it."
Alex Hanesworth
2015 WA POL Champion