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The years 1995-2010 were particularly fertile for John Matthias. In that time, he published five critically acclaimed books of poetry, two pamphlets, two collaborations (a translation and an anthology); and some two dozen poems in various international print and online journals. With such additions to an already remarkable bibliography, Matthias, long-time co-editor of the Notre Dame Review, has confirmed his status as a major American poet – albeit one that many anthologists, critics, and readers tend to overlook. His poetic modes are wide-ranging: the anecdotal, the wryly subversive, and the experimental find purchase in the familial, the historical, and the lyrical. Working in a variety of styles unified by their sources in modernism, Matthias engages the arts, politics, and (primarily) Western culture while acknowledging a past that continues to unfold in the present. In this book, eighteen fine contemporary writers working in essay, interview, and poetic form offer penetrating insight into Matthias’ work – work that is sometimes allusive and difficult, sometimes transparent and clear. This volume begins where the previous selection of essays on Matthias’s work, Robert Archambeau’s Word Play Place, left off in 1998. It will be an invaluable companion to the poetry of an important American author.
‘John Matthias is a master poet. He is one of the great originals.’ —John Kinsella
‘These incisive essays on Matthias’s challenging poetry redraw the boundaries of the field.’ —Marjorie Perloff