William Matthews, born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 11, 1942, was educated at Yale University and the University of North Carolina. He was a professor of English and director of the writing program at the City University of New York.
Bill Matthews published his first book of poetry in 1970, Ruining the New Road: Poems. Nine others followed during his lifetime, including A Happy Childhood (1984), Selected Poems and Translations, 1969–91 (1992), and Time & Money, New Poems, which received the 1996 National Book Critics Circle award for poetry. He won the Modern Poetry Association's 1997 Ruth Lilly Award. He was a former chairman of the literature panel of the National Endowment for the Arts and a former president of the Poetry Society of America. After All was published posthumously.