SUPERFECTA examines our relation to time and memory with surprising energy and consistent empathy. The tension between system and chance connect Clay Matthews’ poems, balanced as they are between the abstractions of symbol and the immediacy of language. For Matthews, there is a thin line dividing the body’s physicality and the wonder of the mind, where “The cartography of a rat is the same for all species/ in that it is always a map of the unknown.” Matthews writes about our desire to identify mythos in everyday experience, and celebrates when it’s discovered amid our anxious and uncertain place in history.
Clay Matthews’ big-hearted poems swell with a flash-bang intellect that serves heaping portions of humor, trouble and love. These poems are fantastic. Dexterous in a range that includes everything from Galileo to The Allman Brothers, this debut collection puzzles and laughs wildly—singing full-throated through the latitudes of our lives. It is a French silk pie filled with rusty nails. Matthews is here to tell us that this truckstop reliquary is beautiful and more than enough. Superfecta sizzles and glows.
–Alex Lemon, author of Mosquito (Tin House Books) and Hallelujah Blackout (Milkweed Editions)
If you like poetry, you must read this book by a young writer of exceptional talent. Clay's poems are well-crafted, incisive and worthy of your attention. They make me look forward to his future books with great anticipation.
-Ai, author of Dread (W.W. Norton & Co.) and Vice (winner of the National Book Award, W.W. Norton & Co.)
In Superfecta, Clay Matthews shows us that a good bet is not just fortune but a sense for the soul of the fast track. These poems set a sure pace of casual confidence of voice and humor, with a gift for detail as genuine as a road trip to Tunica and a forty-dollar room at the Best Western. This book is infused from beginning to end with the gambler’s joy in starting over, or, as Matthews puts it, with his characteristic sweet wryness that overlooks nothing and appreciates everything, “on some mornings/we are geniuses each time we learn to pedal and remain/upright.”
-Lisa Lewis, author of The Unbeliever (winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, University of Wisconsin Press) and Silent Treatment (National Poetry Series, Penguin Books)