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date: 14 June 2024

Matthews, Williamlocked

Matthews, Williamlocked

  • Matthew J. Caballero


William Matthews's poetry is characterized by a potent and eloquent voice that optimistically explores daily life. His work is often associated with the “Deep Image” movement of poets such as Robert Bly, W. S. Merwin, Mark Strand, and James Wright. With an impressionistic use of language, these poets sought to examine the location in the mind where life is lived and experienced. For Matthews as for these others, understanding the workings of the human psyche is always an emotionally difficult and psychologically complex adventure. Yet Matthews's verse is not accompanied by Bly's apocalyptic mysticism or Merwin's palling gloom. Matthews brings to his artistic project two important, uplifting considerations. First, he approaches the tribulations of self-understanding as the proof of life, which he considers an opportunity to be seized and lived. His poems focus on the pleasure of life's daily and domestic events, even if such pleasure is fleeting and complicated. Second, the poet also believes strongly in the power of verse to address, redress, and undress the mysterious workings of the psyche. Whether it was his fervent support of American poetry, the strong and powerful command of language thoroughly evinced in his poetry, or his energizing outlook on human experience, Matthews steadfastly believed in the importance of human language in unraveling the mysterious joys of existence.


  • North American Literatures

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