Airea D. Matthews

2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Winner;
2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award


Photo credit: Jerriod Avant

Photo credit: Jerriod Avant


Matthews is virtuosic, frantic, and darkly, very darkly, funny.—Dan Chiasson, New Yorker

Matthews has earned a place in the accomplished company of Adrienne Rich and Muriel Rukeyser.—Booklist

[A] deft, shape-shifting debut. . . . Matthews surveys the possible responses to what seems ineluctable, offering a work of intrepid imagination, inquiry, and strength.—Publishers Weekly (starred review)


My writing concerns cultural intersectionality with an emphasis on futurism, deconstruction, hybridity, philosophical inquiry, experiment, and form innovation. I am deeply interested in the interweaving of textual ancestry and history, and my work affirms that a Pan-African body can be simultaneously avant-garde and guardian of ancient—an intersection that creates a dynamic and complex relationship with language. Current projects include a hybrid prose/poetic interrogation of first-world poverty and a series of essays about neurodivergence and poetic craft.

Airea D. Matthews's first collection of poems, Simulacra, recipient of the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, has received praise from outlets including The New Yorker and The Washington Post. Her work has appeared in The RumpusBest American Poets 2015American Poet, and elsewhere. She received the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award and was awarded the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in 2016 from Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Ms. Matthews is working on her second poetry collection, broke, which explores poverty. She is an assistant professor at BrynMawr College where she researches and teaches hybridity, futurity and poetic innovations.