Tom Matthews

Life
1945-2003; b. Ballymena, Co. Antrim, brought up in Derry and ed. at Foyle College, and later at QUB; sometime chemist in cement works at Larne, Co. Antrim; issued pamphlets, Interior Din (1968) [var. 1969] and Foolstop (1973), and a collection, Dr. Wilson as an Arab (1974); he was represented in James Simmons' Ten Irish Poets (1974); issued Robert Sat (2009), poetry collection; lives and works in London. ORM

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Works
Interior Din (Belfast: Honest Ulsterman Publ. [1968]), 12pp.; Foolstop (Belfast: Honest Ulstersman 1973); Dr Wilson as an Arab (Holysmoke Press 1974). Also ‘Chaine of Chaine Park’ [poem], in Honest Ulsterman (Oct. 1968).

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Commentary
Tjebbe Westendorp, ‘The Great War in Irish Memory: The Case of Poetry’ (1991), comments on ‘Chaine of Chaine Park’ [poem], in Honest Ulsterman (Oct. 1968). See Westendorp, op. cit., in Geert Lernout, ed., The Crows Behind the Plough: History and Violence in Anglo-Irish Poetry and Drama, Amsterdam: Rodopi 1991, pp.129-41; p.133.)

Frank Ormsby, Foreword to Robert Sat (2009): ‘The impulse to "sing a song of sweet creation" despite death and disaster runs ... without sentimentality ... through Matthews’ work’, quoting: ‘All is not lost / We might yet win through / We have pages of poets on our side / Not to mention / 30 or so little magazines / and 40 or so little presses.’

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References
James Simmons, Ten Irish Poets (Cheadle: Carcanet 1974), selects ‘Restless’; ‘The Singing Lady’; ‘Anton the Elephant Boy’; ‘Young Girl’s Diary’; ‘Robert Sat’; ‘The Cowboy Film’; ‘Tom’s Song’; ‘Geriatric’; ‘The Poet with Bad Teeth’; ‘Foolstop’; ‘L’Enfant Fatigue’; ‘Gustav the Great Explorer’. Note, Simmons writes: ‘I get a sort of lump in my throat with pleasure for the wit and humanity and artistic certainty ...’ (Quoted in Books Ireland, Feb. 2009, p.29.)

There is a commemorative website at www.beyond-the-pale.co.uk/tom.htm, featuring a detail of a portrait by Anthony Weir [q.v.], the poet and webmaster [accessed 12.07.2009].

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