Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Dee Matthews is one of 10 Philadelphia-area artists to be awarded a 2020 Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
From the Pew website:
Matthews’ work experiments with poetic forms 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 In poems that shift narrative perspective and place historical documents in conversation with creative material, Matthews contemplates existential longing and the intersections of textual ancestry and personal narrative.
Pew Fellowships provide unrestricted awards of $75,000 to individual artists from all disciplines. This year’s Fellows are artists working in music, performance, visual art, film, poetry, and writing. Ten of the artists live and work in Philadelphia. The Pew Fellows-in-Residence program, now in its second year, brings two artists from outside the region to live, work, and embed themselves in the city’s vibrant arts scene for a year.
Matthews’s first collection of poems, Simulacra, won the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award and was published by Yale University Press. In his review for The New Yorker, Dan Chiasson describes Matthews's experimental forms in Simulacra as "Fugues, text messages to the dead, imagined outtakes from Wittgenstein, tart mini-operas, fairy tales: Matthews is virtuosic, frantic, and darkly, very darkly, funny."
Matthews's writing has appeared in The Rumpus, Harvard Review, American Poet, Four Way Review, Callaloo, Michigan Quarterly Review, Best American Poetry 2015, and elsewhere. She was awarded a 2016 Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award, the 2016 Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a 2015 Kresge Literary Arts award, as well as having formerly received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and The James Merrill House. Matthews's current projects include a second book, under/class, which seeks to lyrically deconstruct the accepted narratives around poverty and class.