James Matthew Wilson on “The Poetry of Autumn”
Before 2022’s autumn has come and gone in an orangey flash, be sure to read James Matthew Wilson's published essay on the meaning of the season called “The Poetry of Autumn” for First Things, America’s most influential journal of religion and public life.
The renowned Catholic poet and Co-Founder of the MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of St. Thomas-Houston, a few years ago, wrote “Autumn Road,” characterizing the period as a “fearful turn of season and history” and indicating that “nature and artifice alike speak the language of the end of things.” In his current essay, Wilson examines the various expressions of autumn penned by other poets.
On a Modest Street Corner
“I know it may seem a very modest street corner, where the avenue of autumn and the path of poetry intersect, but in fact what we find there takes us to the heart of the American experience,” says Wilson. “Our pilgrim ancestors read nature as an allegory, and so in fact do we. The greatest American poets, especially those of New England, help us to read into the colors of autumn the moral drama of our existence.”
James Matthew Wilson has published 11 books, among them four collections of poems, including “The Strangeness of the Good.” His poems, essays and reviews appear regularly in a wide range of magazines and journals. The winner of the 2017 Hiett Prize from the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, Wilson also serves as Poet-in-Residence of the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship, the poetry editor of “Modern Age” magazine, and series editor of Colosseum Books, a new imprint that publishes the best contemporary poetry and literary criticism of serious craft and spiritual depth.
Coming Next from Wilson
At the present time, Wilson is working on his next book of poems, “Saint Thomas and the Forbidden Birds,” and a book to commemorate the 700th Anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, to be called “A Map of Dante.”