Airea D. Matthews

2020 PEW FELLOW
Updated
5 Feb 2021

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Airea D. Matthews, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Wes Matthews. 

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Airea D. Matthews, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Wes Matthews.

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Pew Fellow Airea D. Matthews, Simulacra, book of poetry. Photo by Wes Matthews.

“I'm convinced that when conventions are justifiably questioned and resisted, both poetry and social identity become more than previously assumed.”   

Poet Airea D. Matthews’ work experiments with form to consider how language can shape perceptions of the self, shared histories, and assumed notions of Blackness. In poems that shift narrative perspective and place historical documents in conversation with creative material, Matthews contemplates existential longing and the intersections of textual ancestry and personal narrative. Her poetry collection Simulacra received the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, and her poetry has appeared in Best American Poets 2015, Harvard Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, American Poet, The Rumpus, Callaloo, and Tin House. Matthews has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, a Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, the James Merrill House, and Kresge Arts in Detroit. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Bryn Mawr College. Matthews has an MFA in poetry from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, an MPA in social policy from Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and a BA in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.