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Blues for Bill

Edited by Kurt Brown, Meg Kearney, Donna Reis, and Estha Weiner

Publication Year: 2005

Blues for Bill was born out of the desire to perpetuate the memory of our dear friend and teacher, Bill Matthews. Bill’s work will last without our help, of course, but what of our memories of Bill himself? This collection of poems ensures that the world will remember his graciousness, intelligence, knowledge, style, good humor, capacity for friendship, immense talent and wit. It’s Bill himself this anthology memorializes, the character and soul of this most unique man. The poems included were written by people who knew Bill in a variety of ways, under myriad circumstances: as friend, both old and new; as mentor and teacher; as colleague; as father. The book’s introduction was penned by Bill’s long-time friend, Russell Banks. Many of the contributors’ names will be familiar, such as Sharon Olds, Stanley Plumly, Dave Smith, Henry Taylor, David Wojahn, Susan Wood, and Baron Wormser; others are perhaps not as well known, but their poems are remarkable, true testaments to Bill.

Published by: The University of Akron Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Foreword

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pp. ix-xii

When a beloved friend dies suddenly and unexpectedly (“without warning,” as they say, though Bill had given us more than ample warning), one’s mind returns almost obsessively to the last time one saw the friend alive. We had met for dinner in New York at San Domenico—Bill’s choice, a sleek, dimly lit, nuevo italiano restaurant on Central Park South, where...

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xiv

However else we respond to a person’s death—physically, emotionally, ritually—poets also respond to the death of another poet by honoring him or her in words, the very medium in which they excelled and through which they touched and transformed so many lives. Hence, the idea for this book. We had begun to notice the many elegies to Bill...

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William Matthews

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pp. xv-xvi

William Matthews was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 11, 1942. He earned a B.A. from Yale and an M.A. from the University of North Carolina. During his lifetime, he published twelve books of poetry: Broken Syllables (Lillabulero, 1969), Ruining the New Road (Random House, 1970), Sticks and Stones (Pentagram...

Things My Father Passed Down to Me and My Brother

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pp. xvii-xviii

Poems

Birthday Poem - Sleek for the Long Flight

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pp. 3-

Bill Matthews Coming Along

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pp. 4-

Notes for the Elegy

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pp. 5-

After

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pp. 6-

Bill Matthews

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pp. 7-

Remembering Bill Matthews

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pp. 8-9

Blues, for Bill

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pp. 10-11

Unfair

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pp. 12-

No Profit

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pp. 13-

Pissing Off Robert Frost’s Porch

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pp. 14-

Before You

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pp. 15-

Matthews in Smoke

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pp. 16-17

Inspiration

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pp. 18-

Untitled: For Bill Matthews

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pp. 19-20

The Last Time

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pp. 21-

The Eternal Light of Talk

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pp. 22-23

Sleek for the Long Flight

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pp. 24-

Magic Lantern

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pp. 25-

The Poet Speaks of Italy

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pp. 26-27

Bill at Bellagio: A Rockefeller Grant

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pp. 28-29

Reincarnation of a Lovebird

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pp. 30-31

Last Class

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pp. 32-33

The Secret of William Matthews

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pp. 34-

Nature Poetry

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pp. 35-

My Blue Heaven

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pp. 36-37

Elegy for William Matthews

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pp. 38-

Last Call

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pp. 39-

Writers’ Conference

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pp. 40-41

Over a Long Distance

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pp. 42-

Buying Wine

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pp. 43-44

Request

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pp. 45-

Bill

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pp. 46-

Some Words for Bill Matthews

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pp. 47-

In Memory of William Matthews

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pp. 48-49

Matthews Ah Um

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pp. 50-51

Fixity

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pp. 52-53

When He Fell Backwards Into His Coffin

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pp. 54-

Following William Matthews’ Recipe for Scallion Risotto

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pp. 55-56

Matthews in Maine, 1980

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pp. 57-

We Never Shot Baskets Together

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pp. 58-59

Open to Everything

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pp. 60-61

Coming Down in Ohio

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pp. 62-63

For William Matthews

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pp. 64-65

Ode to Bill’s Vocabulary, 1997

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pp. 66-67

Glimpse of a Traveller

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pp. 68-

Bill Matthews, 1983

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pp. 69-70

Elegy for Matthews

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pp. 71-72

On the “Island of the Old Women”

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pp. 73-74

Scrabble With Matthews

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pp. 75-76

In Cortona, Thinking of Bill

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pp. 77-79

Melancholy Baby

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pp. 80-81

Interview

An Interview with William Matthews

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pp. 85-117

Editors

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pp. 119-

Contributors

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pp. 121-128

Acknowledgments

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pp. 129-132

Index of Poets and Titles

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pp. 133-134


E-ISBN-13: 9781935603825
E-ISBN-10: 1935603825
Print-ISBN-13: 9781931968249
Print-ISBN-10: 1931968241

Page Count: 152
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Akron Series in Poetry
Series Editor Byline: Elton Glaser, Editor

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Subject Headings

  • Poets -- Poetry.
  • Matthews, William, 1942-1997 -- Poetry.
  • American poetry -- 21st century
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