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Airea D. Matthews

Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, 2022-2023

Airea D. Matthews received a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program and an MPA from the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Matthews is the author of Bread and Circus (Scribner Books, 2023) and Simulacra (Yale University Press, 2017), selected by Carl Phillips as the winner of the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets.

A Cave Canem Fellow and a Kresge Literary Arts Fellow, Matthews is the recipient of a Pew Fellowship, the 2017 Margaret Walker For My People award, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She is a founding member of the Riven collective along with Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela and Cynthia Dewi Oka. 

Matthews is an associate professor and directs the poetry program at Bryn Mawr College, where she was presented the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. She serves as the 2022–23 Philadelphia poet laureate.

Airea D. Matthews
Photo credit: Brooke Sientinsons
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