Ruining the New Road
ISBN : 978-0-9841928-5-4
Cooper Dillon Edition, 2011
$14.00 + s/h
The debut collection by the legendary William Matthews, in its entirety for the first time since 1970.
Careening between the bleak and utterly buoyant, the poems in Ruining the New Road offer a startling open-mouthed, and openhearted honesty that is rare and exhilarating. Fierce in its recognition of both beauty and the painful, yet tender truths of the universe, these poems remind us that Matthews is a genuine master at laying bare the complicated spectrum of the human condition. Here is a book where, as Matthews says, "Everywhere life is ludicrous/ but absolutely crucial."
- Ada Limón
For a first book of poems to be honest is rare enough: for one to concern itself with honesty, with the evasion of fancy and the lives of our excitements is even more so, and I feel thankful for this book. These narrowed poems, almost epigrammatic, but ultimately meditative, reflect the sorts of confrontation, such as with mirrors, that will matter in the end.
- John Hollander
"William Matthews writes of the post-Wasteland world, familiar to many young people today but not always to their elders. Like all worlds, it is a state of consciousness, but with a difference. Work and love take the place of extremes of hope and despair; emotion and thought devoted to life as lived in the present take the place of blind worship of the past and blind fear of the future. If work and love can balance the ecology of our planet (both geographic and poetic), William Matthews will deserve our thanks. Like Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry, he knows that the poetry is in the ecology. Matthews, as I believe we shall soon see, is a man of their stature. I believe that he is the best young poet in American."
-Stephen Mooney, Editor, Tennessee Poetry Journal
William MatthewsTime & Money (1996), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; Selected Poems and Translations 1969-1991 (1992); Blues If You Want (1989); A Happy Childhood (1984); Rising and Falling (1979); Sticks and Stones (1975); and Ruining the New Road (1970). Collections published posthumously include Search Party: Collected Poems, edited by his son Sebastian Matthews and Stanley Plumly (2004), After All: Last Poems (1998), and New Hope for the Dead (2010). He was also the author of a book of essays entitled Curiosities (1989).
William Matthews served as president of The Associated Writing Programs and of the Poetry Society of America, and as a member and chair of the Literature Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts. He received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Ingram Merrill foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Lila Wallace- Reader's Digest Fund, and in April 1997 he was awarded the Ruth Lilly Prize. He taught at numerous schools, including, in his last years, the City College of New York. William Matthews died of a heart attack on November 12, 1997, the day after his fifty-fifth birthday.