The poetry of John Matthias has long been admired by other poets for the way it refuses to be categorized. Lyrical and experimental, cosmopolitan and rooted in place, it challenges our received notions of what poetry can be at the end of the twentieth century. This volume introduces the work of this significant American poet to readers previously unfamiliar with it and enriches the reading of those who have long admired it. The essays collected here treat Matthias's career from its beginnings under the tutelage of John Berryman and Yvor Winters through its engagement with modern and postmodern poetics. With contributions from John Peck, Michael Anania, Peter Michelson, and ten other critics, Word Play Place is the first sustained treatment of the poetry of this writer who stands outside the mainstream of American poetry in our time, and is guided by an aesthetic that has not been easy to define. This collection emphasizes how readers ought to approach Matthias's work in all its ambition, its richness, and its strangeness.