Airea D. Matthews
Airea D. Matthews’s first collection of poems, Simulacra, received the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award (Yale University Press, 2017). Her work has appeared in Best American Poets 2015, American Poets, Four Way Review, The Indiana Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She received the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and has awarded the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from the 2016 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, her M.P.A. from the University of Michigan, and her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Ms. Matthews is working on her second poetry collection, under/class, which explores the behavioral and cultural ramifications of poverty. She lives in Detroit, Michigan, with her husband and four children.
A fresh and rebellious poetic voice, Airea D. Matthews debuts in the acclaimed series that showcases the work of exciting and innovative young American poets. Matthews’s superb collection explores the topic of want and desire with power, insight, and intense emotion. Her poems cross historical boundaries and speak emphatically from a racialized America, where the trajectories of joy and exploitation, striving and thwarting, violence and celebration are constrained by differentials of privilege and contemporary modes of communication. In his foreword, series judge Carl Phillips calls this book “rollicking, destabilizing, at once intellectually sly and piercing and finally poignant.” This is poetry that breaks new literary ground, inspiring readers to think differently about what poems can and should do in a new media society where imaginations are laid bare and there is no thought too provocative to send out into the world.