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.

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...

Craft First

As part of my recent visit to Hillsdale College, where I read from my forthcoming book, The Violent and the Fallen, I gave a short interview to the campus paper, which has just been published.  At the end of the interview, I claim the follo...

What You Need to Know About Yvor Winters

This is the first entry in FPR’s One Thousand Words series. Over the next few months, perhaps longer, several dozen contributors will tell us what we need to know about a wide variety of figures—some obscure, some not—in one thousand words ...

The Violent and the Fallen

I am pleased to announce that The Violent and the Fallen, the second book of poems by James Matthew Wilson, is now available for advance sale.  You can order simply by clicking HERE.  Finishing Line Press, the publisher, will determine the ...

What Would It Mean to Be a Catholic Writer?

Berwyn, PA.  Randy Boyagoda, my old neighbor from the Catholic ghetto that grew up around the Studebaker mansion in South Bend, writes about the dearth of Catholic writers and artists in our day, in the new First Things.  He begins, I’m sic...