James Matthew Wilson
James Matthew Wilson is Cullen Foundation Chair in English Literature and the Founding Director of the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing , at the University of Saint Thomas, Houston. An award-winning scholar of philosophical-theology and literature, he has authored dozens of essays, articles, and reviews on all manner of subjects secular and divine, and especially on those where we see the two in their intrinsic relation, as truth, goodness, beauty, and being disclose themselves in art and culture, in the political and intellectual life, in our quest for self knowledge and the contemplation of God. His scholarly work especially focuses on the meeting of aesthetic and ontological form, where the craftsmanship of art-work discloses the truth about being.
Wilson is a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, whose work appears regularly in such magazines and journals as First Things, The Wall Street Journal, The Hudson Review, Modern Age, The New Criterion, Dappled Things, Measure, The Weekly Standard, Front Porch Republic, The Raintown Review, National Review, and The American Conservative.
He has published twelve books, including six books and chapbooks of poetry. Among his volumes are: The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition (CUA, 2017); the major critical study, The Fortunes of Poetry in an Age of Unmaking (Wiseblood, 2015); and a monograph, The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry (Wiseblood Books, 2014). His most recent books include The Strangeness of the Good (Angelico, 2020), the poetic sequence, The River of the Immaculate Conception (Wiseblood, 2019), and I Believe in One God: Praying the Nicene Creed (CTS, 2022).
“Wilson's poems display a rare degree of skill and ambition, but he is never content with mere virtuosity, always reaching for spiritual and emotional intensity. --Dana Gioia
In James Matthew Wilson’s newest collection of poems he continues to show his command of major themes of many ranges of contemporary experience in a style that is unusually complex, but always exact, profound and deeply insightful. In this new book, his best poems, those concerning matters of the soul, place him among the finest poets writing today. --Helen Pinkerton Trimpi
This is James Matthew Wilson’s first full-length book of poems, and a singularly powerful announcement it is . . . philosophy, metaphysics, theology, the American political scene viewed through the complex lenses of the classics, with allusions ranging from the ancients to the moderns . . . all woven into a complex music which has anchored itself in the long tradition of meter and rhyme. . . He is a word painter . . . with the eye of someone for whom the essential being of things—the quiddity, the inscape—leads again and again into a deeper mystery. Here is a serious poet, not yet forty, who is, I can only hope, at the beginning of a long and illustrious journey in the best and most profound tradition of Dante, Hopkins, David Jones, Auden, Eliot, and Franz Wright. --Paul Mariani
In The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry, poet and critic James Matthew Wilson offers a succinct summary of how Catholicism’s unified and sacramental vision of the world influenced some of the twentieth century’s most original voices. His elegant and sure-footed treatment of work of nearly 20 poets—from George Santayana’s aesthetics of ascent to Dana Gioia’s dramatic lyricism—make this is essential reading for any student of modern American poetry. --Micah Mattix
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