A Swallow Press Book
“American poet Matthias’s forte is the long poem: ranging from 18–24 pages, these provide ample room for his experiments with language, that sometimes start off with quotes from obscure texts. … In the short form, Matthias shines in autobiographical poems, such as those in the ‘After Years Away’ sequence.”
Beltane at Aphelion collects all of John Matthias's longer poems and is published simultaneously with Swimming at Midnight, which collects his shorter poems. The volume includes his exuberant experiments from the 1960s, Poem in Three Parts and Bucyrus, followed by The Stefan Bathory & Mihail Lermontov Poems, his comedic diptych from the 1970s set on a Polish and a Russian ocean liner, and by Northern Summer, his meditation on history and language set in Scotland. It concludes with the three long poems first published in A Gathering of Ways which explore ancient paths and river routes in the East Anglian region of Britain and the American Midwest, and, in the most ambitious poem he has yet written, the famous pilgrim trails to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. About the books in which these poems originally appeared, critics and poets have written with enthusiasm.
John Matthias is the author of seven previous volumes of poetry. He teaches at Notre Dame University. More info →
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Northern Summer is a representative selection from John Matthias’s previous books, together with a group of poems written since 1980. Robert Duncan wrote of his first book, Bucyrus, that in part “Matthias is a Goliard – one of those wandering souls out of a dark age in our own time.”
Swimming at Midnight collects the short and middle-length poems from John Matthias’s earlier books together with twenty poems that have previously appeared only in magazines. It is published simultaneously with Beltane at Aphelion, which includes all of Matthias’s longer poems. The two books together represent some thirty years of his work.