PANK 3 contributor Clay Matthews’s Runoff is now available from BlazeVox. Clay Matthews currently lives next door to the Bristol Motor Speedway in East TN. He has one previous full-length, Superfecta (Ghost Road Press), and two chapbooks: Muffler (H_NGM_N B_ _KS) and Western Reruns (End & Shelf Books). He thinks highly of his friends.
With Runoff, Clay Matthews solidifies his claim as the only real successor to the narrative, discursive line of Richard Hugo while extending that range to include the kind of hard & sparkling bursts of revelatory truth-won-through-trauma that punctuate the landscape of the best of Larry Levis.
There’s a howling emptiness that runs through these lines like a river washing through a prairie canyon — but there’s a hopeful certainty too: Â that where it’s going is simply where it’s going & there’ll be sunshine & clear skies someday.
– Nate Pritts
Clay Matthews’ Runoff is ambitious, recursive, and tenacious. Part weather journal, part calendar, part hiding place, Runoff is dense with Americana: skee ball and social security cards, spark plugs and scissortail flycatchers. Beverly’s Pancake House and Roseanne reruns. A chicken-fried, not-quite-countrified Hamlet-of-sorts, Matthews says, “I got some kind of faith / in some kind / of something,”Â which is tender and optimistic in a world constantly “making up neo- and post- and pre- and new names for itself.”Â Combining the cultural, natural, and metaphysical with ease, here is a voice that ultimately just wants us to “witness the world / you little fools / and love it.”Â Literally letting his days run onto the page, an ordinary man takes us through a year of his (extra?) ordinary life. “And stranger,”Â he says, “you are welcome to it.”Â Welcome we are, indeed.
– Brandi Homan
To learn more or order the book, go here.