Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wordplay: William Matthews

Sebastian had a trove of old cassette tapes of his father, William Matthews, reading his work, so I digitized them and made a selection for last Sunday's show; were Bill still living, it would have been his sixty-fifth birthday, so it seemed a more than appropriate moment to listen to his work.

Given the limits of our thirty minute format, we wound up favoring the more formal readings Bill made for his 1984 cassette collection Days Beyond Recall, just because that choice allowed us to include more poems. We closed the show, though, with two poems from a live reading Bill had given at The Poet's House in Ireland in 1992, complete with the "amiable banter" that provided settings of the poems for that audience.

I'd worked with Bill in the late 60s on the little magazine Lillabulero, and have though ever since that he was one of the most gifted of my contemporaries; it was great to hear his voice again, preserved on these thin charged strips of polyester film.

Give him a listen.

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Cross-posted at the Wordplay blog.

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