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The Mill Is Burning (Grove Press Poetry)

Richard Matthews


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In his first collection of poems, The Mill Is Burning, 2001 Pen/Joyce Osterweil Award winner Richard Matthews brings to bear an astonishing range of poetic modes and voices to explore landscape internal and external, light and dark, real and fanciful, near and remote. These are poems distinctive in both their lyrical and emotional urgency and their intelligence and craft. Matthews does not flinch from difficult subjects. In "Cavafy Suite," he re-imagines and relocates poems by the celebrated Greek poet to create a harrowing tour of the labyrinths of depression. The sequences "Ad Astra" and "Tenebrae" are beautiful but painful portraits of D. H. Lawrence and the poet's mother, respectively, approaching their deaths. Yet he also gives us poems of celebration -- of redemption through music in "Of Mere Virtuosity," of a distant lover intimately conjured near in "Cloister" -- and poems of wonder, as a dragon drops from the sky in medieval France, moths blanket Penelope's Ithaca, and a Rothko painting morphs into a lush Korean landscape. Challenging and moving, Matthews's poems enlarge our intellectual and sensory engagement with the world. This is a rich and original debut. " Matthews's] delightful poems rove the world and its history and move us...into a distinctive sensibility." -- Billy Collins "...the general effect is one of passionate mastery...gratitude and enjoyment are the sole residue." --Richard Howard.

Grove Press, 9780802138866, 80pp.

Publication Date: March 11, 2002