James Matthew Wilson

James Matthew Wilson is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions at Villanova University. An award-winning scholar of philosophical-theology and literature, he has authored dozens of essays, articles, and reviews on subjects ranging from art, ethics, and politics, to meter and poetic form, from the importance of local culture to the nature of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Wilson is also a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, whose work appears regularly in such magazines and journals as First Things, Modern Age, The New Criterion, Dappled Things, Measure, The Weekly Standard, Front Porch Republic, The Raintown Review, and The American Conservative. He has published five books, including most recently, a collection of poems, Some Permanent Things and a monograph, The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry (both Wiseblood Books, 2014).

Raised in the Great Lakes State, baptised in the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas, seasoned by summers on Lake Wawasee (Indiana), and educated under the Golden Dome, Wilson is scion of a family of Hoosiers dating back to the early nineteenth century, and an offspring of Southside Chicago Poles whose tavern kept the city wet through the Depression (and prohibition) years.  He now lives under the same sentence of reluctant exile as many another native son of the Midwest, but has dug himself in for good on the margins of the Main Line in Pennsylvania with his beautiful wife, dangerous daughter, and saintly sons.

For information on Wilson's scholarship and a selection of his published work, click here.

See books written and recommended by James Matthew Wilson.

The Good Man Must Himself Be a True Poem

The M.F.A. program in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame has just published an interview with me as part of its alumni series.  There, I get to reflect on my years of shooting pool and trying to hold my intellect together, all...

“Standard Oil” Catholicism

Berwyn, PA.  The American Conservative has just published the online version of my review of Suitable Accommodations, a selected letters of the Catholic fiction writer, J.F. Powers.  Powers’ stories still live and astonish, and speak ...

Come and Hear, or Read, “The Violent and the Fallen”

My second collection of poems, The Violent and the Fallen, is now available on amazon.com, and directly from the publisher. Those interested may also write directly to [email protected] to order one of only seven signed sets of my ...

In Praise of Mediocrity

Berwyn, PA. Everyone knows G.K. Chesterton’s aphorism that, if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.  Dappled Things writer Karen Ullo has deepened our understanding of that truth in a new personal essay, where she reflects...

What You Need to Know about Dana Gioia

Dana Gioia has spent his career making metaphors: drawing disparate things together to reveal the breadth and depth of aesthetic experience, but doing so in a way that has frequently provoked avant-garde artists and their academic minions e...

Of Vision and Discipline

After six years absence, I have just published a review essay in the great Contemporary Poetry Review, one of the first important internet critical journals.  The review is of two new books by the western poet (and skier) David J. Rothman. ...

Poems about God

I’m in the middle of writing a short essay on John Crowe Ransom’s first book, Poems about God (1919).  In his early poems even more obviously than in the later work that made him one of the most influential minor American poets ...

The Joy of Being Edwin Arlington Robinson

Every semester, on the first day of the poetry courses I teach, I hold up Lilla Cabot Perry’s portrait of Edwin Arlington Robinson and tell the students an only slightly embellished anecdote. This first great American poet of the 20th centu...