This month we welcome back long-time contributor to The Common, John Matthias. His poems previously published by the magazine can be found here.
John Matthias has published some thirty-five books of poetry, translation, scholarship, criticism, and collaboration. He taught for many years at the University of Notre Dame and is a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge. Until 2012 he was poetry editor of Notre Dame Review, and is now Editor at Large. Shearsman published his Collected Poems in three volumes in 2011, 2012, and 2013. More recently, they have published a new volume of poems, Complayntes for Doctor Neuro, and a collection of memoirs and literary essays, At Large (both 2016). His most recent book is a collaboration with printmaker Jean Dibble and critic Robert Archambeau, Revolutions (Dos Madres, 2017). Two collections of critical essays have been published on Matthias’s work, Word Play Place, edited by Robert Archambeau, and The Salt Companion to John Matthias, edited by Joe Francis Doerr. “Prynne and a Petoskey Stone” is part of a new book now taking shape, which will be called Acoustic Shadows.
O Lynx keep watch on my fire he had written in Pisa
and Dryad he’d called her a long time back and she
thought the new subtlety of eyes was probably hers
dove sta memoria when she read it in his prison poems
in her Künsnacht sanatorium . . .
so you’ve only a museum now
and not a college at all
although I understand the buildings still exist near the town
where religion has reclaimed the real estate that
John Rice took for the muses after he scandaled at Rollins
lecturing on the classics in his jock.
The old men who scrambled out at last from behind
some rocks and trees below Poseidon’s great Horse Hill
That they called kolonos hippios and was famous for the rider
whose immortal name these coloni still bore and was
Still guarded by Eumenides of black night and bright day