Reading this collection is to encounter poems no one else could have written, but also, in the manner of a poet such as Emily Dickinson, to commune with a mind whose thoughts and sensations are utterly original. Added to this uniqueness is Charlotte Matthews’ inexhaustible sense of wonder, her understanding and reverence of the natural world, and her craft. Green Stars heralds a stunning and important new voice in American poetry.
Charlotte Hilary Matthews has written an intense, stunning,
deeply generous book of poems. In Green Stars, she takes on the psychological
narrative landscape usually reserved for the novel. Mournful love poems,
this is an astonishingly resonant, beautifully crafted collection that
constantly reminds us that the dead refuse to stay dead when we caress
the details of their lives. Matthews has written a resurrection.
This is a poetry that connects grief and joy so gracefully that the dead come back to life, and life itself—ordinary town and house, childhood and family—grow suddenly rich, a stillness to be savored. Charlotte Matthews stops time in her poems. And sets it moving again.
Charlotte Matthews is a poet who in this moment knows exactly what she wants and exactly how to get it. She wants exactness. She wants little enough, and then even less, and she wants it with her whole aesthetic being. A poet of laconic eloquence, a minimalist with a vestigial love of the vivid, or better yet a diamond cutter eager to forgo carat weight for clarity and exquisiteness, she chisels her rough subjects down to premium round brilliants. Hold them to the light, turn them, and admire.