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Search Party: Collected Poems

by William Matthews

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591385,365 (4.27)1
When William Matthews died of a heart attack in 1997, the day after his fifty-fifth birthday, America lost one of its most important poets, one whose humor and wit were balanced by deep emotion, whose off-the-cuff inventiveness belied the acuity of his verse. With Search Party, his son Sebastian and his friend and fellow poet Stanley Plumly have brought together a collection drawing from all of Matthews's previously published work as well as twenty-three never-before-published poems. Here are meditations on relationships, work, family life, and, of course, jazz: "I love the smoky libidinal murmur / of a jazz crowd . . . / I like to slouch back / with that I'll-be-here-awhile tilt." Pleasure is abundant in these poems: music, wine, love,and language are, for Matthews, the necessary consolations for life's suffering. Full of as much wisdom and song as heartbreak and loss, Search Party will bring a wider reading audience to this "poet of experience" and his benedictions of everyday life.… (more)
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This is a wonderful book, valuable for the sensitivity of the selections, though disappointing because it is a "selected" and not the complete poems implied in the title's use of the term "collected." A selection partly made by the poet's son, along with the poet Frank Bidart. William Matthews was one of the great American poets of his generation. This is a very handsome book with a broad selection of the poet's wotk. ( )
  abirdman | Dec 24, 2008 |
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When William Matthews died of a heart attack in 1997, the day after his fifty-fifth birthday, America lost one of its most important poets, one whose humor and wit were balanced by deep emotion, whose off-the-cuff inventiveness belied the acuity of his verse. With Search Party, his son Sebastian and his friend and fellow poet Stanley Plumly have brought together a collection drawing from all of Matthews's previously published work as well as twenty-three never-before-published poems. Here are meditations on relationships, work, family life, and, of course, jazz: "I love the smoky libidinal murmur / of a jazz crowd . . . / I like to slouch back / with that I'll-be-here-awhile tilt." Pleasure is abundant in these poems: music, wine, love,and language are, for Matthews, the necessary consolations for life's suffering. Full of as much wisdom and song as heartbreak and loss, Search Party will bring a wider reading audience to this "poet of experience" and his benedictions of everyday life.

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