Synopses & Reviews
This is the touchingly entitled collection of poems William Matthews had completed shortly before dying, just after his fifty-fifth birthday in November 1997. Is death ever entirely unexpected? Not, perhaps, by a collector of experience, a gourmet of language, who can refer to death flickering in you like a pilot light. In AFTER ALL, Matthews seems to be looking his last on all things lovely: music, food and wine, love. In the stunning central poem, Dire Cure, which forms a kind of spine to the book, he describes the remarkable implications of the heroic measures that saved the life and restored the health of his wife from a children's cancer (doesn't that possessive break your heart?). He evokes the death of his favorite jazz musician, Charles Mingus. He speaks of cats, dogs, pigs, sheep, of the past, of history, of joys proposed, but especially, with his characteristic relaxed wit, of language and its quiddities: My love says I think too damn much and maybe she's right. After All is the last word from one of the most pensive and delicious of all our poets.
"An extraordinarily important American poet." -- Gerald Stern
"A lovely finale." Library Journal
William Matthews had completed AFTER ALL shortly before his death, just after his fifty-fifth birthday, in November 1997. In many poems in this collection, Matthews seems to be looking his last on all things appealing: music, food and wine, and love among them. He also evokes the death of his favorite jazz musician, Charles Mingus, speaks of cats, dogs, history--and especially, with his characteristic relaxed wit, of language and its quiddities.
About the Author
William Matthews won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1995 and the Ruth Lilly Award of the Modern Poetry Association in 1997. Born in Cincinnati in 1942, he was educated at Yale University and the University of North Carolina. At the time of his death in 1997, he was a professor of English and director of the writing program at the City University of New York.