February Literary Reading ft. Ralph Mathews

Saturday, February 2, 7pm
The Bear Gallery

We are excited to feature Ralph Mathews for our 2019 Literary Reading Series in the Bear Gallery! Ralph is a lifelong Fairbanksian and has been involved in the local literary community since the 60s. Here is what he shared with us about his life in this town and his journey through the arts:

ralph mathews“I was born here in Fairbanks in September 1940 and grew up in Slaterville (a part of Fairbanks). I sold News Miners on the streets in 1951 – 52, and then [upgraded to] paper routes in 53-54.

I attended UAF in the winter of 60-61 as an engineering student and was exposed by a man on a fellowship with the English Department. He was a vet from WWII, a chain smoker, and specialized in the war poets. I loved it. During the summer of 1961, I published a poem in the Anthology of College poetry, a terrible piece of work which I never used in a reading, but which was a good lesson. I never again ever submitted anything again for publication of any kind unless asked.

Getting into poetry available in the Library, I discovered Rupert Brooke and read Richard Halliburton’s description of Brooke’s death and burial on the island of Skyros in 1915. I decided to bag engineering and go visit his grave. In 1963, I started out on a long trip hitchhiking coast to coast, then caught a freighter from Montreal to Swansea, Wales, lived a month in the Latin Quarter in Paris, bought a motorcycle in Munich, rode through Yugoslavia to Greece and got out to Skyros on a motor sailor to Brooke’s grave.

In Fairbanks, I have had exposure to wonderful minds – great teachers in the arts:
A thorough exposure to Ceramics from Stan Zielinski. In 1966 and 1967, we had an excellent writing program at UAF taught by Ed Skellings, Robert King, Don Kaufman, and Larry Wyatt. It was an excellent program producing poetry, prose, and drama on worksheets available to everyone, which were then discussed by the students.

In 1974, I taught a writing workshop class at UAF myself, through the extension service. In the late 70s / early 80s, I was also involved with Fairbanks Arts Association, as an artist in residence at various schools when the program was still administered by Lyric Ozburn.”


For more information on this event, email literary@fairbanksarts.org or call (9070 456 – 6485 ext. 224.