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May 17, 2019


Airea D. Matthews
Matthews reads "Etymology."

About This Poem


“Names matter. Years ago, when I started sharing work in public, I wrote my name as ‘Dee’ on the open mic sign-in sheet. I didn’t want to hear my given name mangled every time I wanted to read, and I thought using a nickname might make pronunciation easier for the hosts. That tradition stuck. I realize now it was one of the many ways I’d learned to make myself smaller in space, less pronounced. I like my real name and its history; the least I can do is tell people what it means.”
Airea D. Matthews


Airea D. Matthews’ first collection of poems, Simulacra, received the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. She is an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr College and a founding member of the Riven Collective along with Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela and Cynthia Dewi Oka. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Photo Credit: A. Jerriod Avant

Poetry by Matthews



(Yale University Press, 2017)

"How I Got That Name" by Marilyn Chin


"Poem in Which the Writer Sees Himself in an Old Text, 1943" by sam sax


"Center of the World" by Safiya Sinclair


May Guest Editor: Victoria Chang


Thanks to Victoria Chang, author of Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Read a Q&A with Chang about her curatorial approach this month and find out more about our guest editors for the year.

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