All the Great Territories are the territories that Matthew Wimberley traveled, living out of his car in 2012 with the ashes of his estranged, now dead, father in search of the most appropriate place or places to spread them. This odyssey takes him from the Blue Ridge Mountain where he was raised to Idaho. These poems muse about love and loss and memory and grief and kinship and the natural world. “Matthew Wimberley’s deeply intimate and lyrical collection All the Great Territories maps a son’s journey through the landscapes of loss—through empty towns and black mountains and snow-covered fields. Forged by tender observations, these poems seek to uncover personal histories half-buried under layers of dirt and ash. They burn bright with elegy and longing for a father, a home, a memory of a life left behind.”—Vandana Khanna. “The poems in this rich and incisive book are close-held and generous, in both detail and formal expression. Although the poet who has written these fine poems is young, he painfully recognizes the world he comes from is nearly lost. That is the blunt lot of rural America at the present moment. Thus, these poems have a moving, elegiac quality, but also, sublimely and through subtle implication, they acknowledge a hope, perhaps to come from the enduring land itself, where these poems of vital human experience are rooted. This is a book of knowledge, but it comes at us against our current grain, slowly, and in observable detail as it all happens in time.”—Maurice Manning. Matthew Wimberley graduated from N. C. State and got his MFA at New York University. He now teaches English at Lees McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina, including courses in Wilderness Literature and Appalachian Poetry.
Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2020. 84 pages. Trade paperback.