Poetry, paperback, 75 pages, illustrated, from Cooper Dillon Books.
Pretty, Rooster features original comics from Shannon Wheeler (Too Much Coffee Man) and Micah Farritor (White Picket Fences & Night Trippers), with other visual stimulations by Max Xiantu.
These tender, introspective poems pulse patiently as the world spins around and shines light. Their humbleness and devotion to the act of being is a condition that connects to the greater by relating to what appears, on the surface, as the minor details. "I say, please, let's/ not forget about the small things. You say,/ please, now, let's not forget things either way." By not forgetting either way, Clay Matthews blesses the I-don't -know and mystery of everyday.
-Reb Livingston, author of God Damsel
You don't read these poems as much as you tumble through them. The pleasures of sound and sense are so perfectly calibrated that each of these sonnets wants to be read at least twice. The sonnet was invented as a vehicle for self-examination, and Matthews takes that literally, driving each one like it had a manual transmission. His discoveries are simultaneously comforting and unsettling, love always inflecting life, and life always inflecting love.
-Jason Schneiderman, author of Striking Surface
What do the rooster's showy comb, the fool's cap and the vibrant petals of an annual plant have in common? They all contribute to the fusion of meanings in Clay Matthews' masterful sequence of "Cockscomb" sonnets. Matthews infuses the sonnet form with a folksy acoustic and bucolic slang, mixed with the kind of tenderness, vulnerability and knowing you would find in a Shakespearean jester. All of this in a sort of satellite dish of encyclopedic subjects ranging from auto racing to ars poetica, landscaping to Loch Ness. A feat of the form.
-Christina Davis, author of Forth a Raven