In My Father's Footsteps by Sebastian Matthews
A Memoir

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A brilliant father, a complicated legacy, and a son's hard-won journey of self-discovery.

William Matthews was a much-admired, award-winning poet and teacher who lived hard and died suddenly in 1997 at the age of fifty-five. He was a jazz fan, a wit and raconteur, a connoisseur of fine food and wine, and a thrice-married womanizer.

This clear-eyed, often wryly funny memoir pays homage to a charismatic father as the son struggles to step out from his considerable shadow. In examining his father's death (and life), Sebastian Matthews explores his own chaotic past. A child of divorce, he was shuttled throughout his boyhood between parents and many geographies. In a confusing symbiotic time between Bill's marriages, the teenage son and his father "were roommates and drinking buddies—I took care of him; he parented me." Later came the son's wanderings, the failed commitments.

Finally Sebastian learns to confront Bill's mixed legacy. Striving to emulate the best of that "sad, happy man," he discovers new definitions of home, love, and marriage.

About Sebastian Matthews

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Sebastian Matthews, writer, poet, and teacher at Warren Wilson College, is the editor of a new literary journal, Rivendell. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Published January 1, 2004 by W. W. Norton & Company. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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“All I wanted to do was to sit down,” Sebastian writes, “and immerse myself in the slowly dying energy of the room.” The author discusses the poet’s serial sexual escapades and failed marriages, his compulsive desire to sleep with his students (he finally had to leave the University of Washington...

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