Cleopatra Mathis was born and raised in Ruston, Louisiana. The author of six books of poems, her work has appeared widely in anthologies, textbooks, magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, Poetry, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, and The Georgia Review. Prizes for her work include two National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Jane Kenyon Award, the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award, two Pushcart Prizes, and the Robert Frost Award. Mathis is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College, where she directs the creative writing program.
"From time to time, all too rarely, we come upon a book that reminds us why we go to poetry in the first place. Why, amid the depredations of time and faithlessness and the stark indifference of the gods, we still seek solace in language and clarity of mind. Book of Dog is just such a reminder. These elegant, heart-wrought poems were written by a lyricist at the height of her powers. I will turn to them again and again."
"Cleopatra Mathis’s work is immediately recognizable to readers of contemporary poetry. It's inclusive and personal. She is committed to writing her poems using the material of her life, present and past—always writing, as Yeats said, "as if in a letter to an intimate friend." She is not a maker but a seeker; she does not teach and delight, but tells us plainly what matters to her; she is less interested in nicety of expression than in communicating her emotional energy. She is original in the way she works the contours of her subjects, trying to let them have their full articulation over the imperatives of form. These new poems proceed from devastating circumstances: they are wilder, more moving, and more beautiful than anything else she has done."
"I love this book! And haven't been able to say so about any book so unequivocally for a long time. Not only has Mathis found subjects that impel her toward writing that's both deep and poignant, but she's not afraid of registering sentiment right up to the almost unbearable edge. The creatures for which she has so much intelligent and well-wrought empathy, we suspect arise out of a profound sympathy with the travails of simply being alive, but there's no self-pity here, just what feels acute and often painful, and beautiful accuracy."