Professor James Matthew Wilson | How Does Beauty Manifest?

James Matthew Wilson is Professor of Humanities and the Founding Director of the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing , at the University of Saint Thomas, Houston.  An award-winning scholar of philosophical-theology and literature, he has authored dozens of essays, articles, and reviews on all manner of subjects secular and divine, and especially on those where we see the two in their intrinsic relation, as truth, goodness, beauty, and being disclose themselves in art and culture, in the political and intellectual life, in our quest for self knowledge and the contemplation of God.  His scholarly work especially focuses on the meeting of aesthetic and ontological form, where the craftsmanship of art-work discloses the truth about being.

Wilson is a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, whose work appears regularly in such magazines and journals as First ThingsThe Wall Street Journal​, The Hudson Review, Modern Age, The New Criterion, Dappled Things, Measure,The Weekly Standard, Front Porch Republic, The Raintown Review, National Review, and The American Conservative.

He has published ten books, including six books and chapbooks of poetry. Among his volumes are: The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition (CUA, 2017); the major critical study, The Fortunes of Poetry in an Age of Unmaking (Wiseblood, 2015); and a monograph, The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry (both Wiseblood Books, 2014).  His most recent books are The Strangeness of the Good (Angelico, 2020) and the poetic sequence, The River of the Immaculate Conception (Wiseblood, 2019).

Wilson serves as Poetry Editor of Modern Age magazine,  series editor of Colosseum Books, of the Franciscan University at Steubenville Press, and as director of the Colosseum Institute for writers.  He also serves on the boards of several learned journals and societies. 

Twice, Wilson has been awarded the Lionel Basney Award by the Conference for Christianity and Literature; he has been a runner up for both the Foley Prize for Poetry by America magazine and the Jacques Maritain Essay Prize by Dappled Things magazine.  The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture awarded him the 2017 Hiett Prize in the Humanities, the largest award of its kind. Wilson’s The Strangeness of the Good won the Catholic Media Awards prize for poetry in 2021.

Wilson was educated at the University of Michigan (B.A.), the University of Massachusetts (M.A.), and the University of Notre Dame (M.F.A., Ph.D.), where he subsequently held a Sorin Research Fellowship. Wilson joined the University of Saint Thomas, Houston, in 2021, when he co-founded the Master of Fine Arts program.