Suzanne Matson
Finnish North American Literature Association
Biographical Information

Suzanne Matson was born on November 12, 1959, in Portland, Oregon. She
teaches literature and creative writing at Boston College. Her family (originally
Hernesmaa but changed to Matson) immigrated from Lehtimäki, Finland, to
Trimountain, Michigan, and near Red Lodge, Montana.

She has earned a BA in English from Portland State University in 1987 and an MA
in Creative Writing/English in 1983 and a PhD in English in 1987 from the
University of Washington at Seattle. She has received multiple honors and awards
from Boston College, Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Academy of American
Poets and other prestigious organizations.

Her website is here:




The Tree-Sitter. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006.

A Trick of Nature. New York: W. W. Norton, 2000.
•Ballantine Books paperback edition, October 2001 (Reader’s Circle Program)
•German edition (Aus heiterem Himmel) from Fischer Taschenbuch          
Ferlag, February 2002

The Hunger Moon. New York: W. W. Norton, July 1997.
•Starred review in Publishers Weekly
•A Literary Guild selection
•A summer ‘97 selection for the “Discover New Great New Writers” program in
Barnes and Noble stores nationwide
•Ballantine Books paperback edition , April 1999 (Reader’s Circle Program)
•German edition (Die Andere Seite des Mondes) from Argon Verlag, April

Books of poetry

Durable Goods. Cambridge: Alice James Books, 1993.

Sea Level. Cambridge: Alice James Books, 1990.

Poetry in Periodicals

"Mysore Pantoum," "Ballroom Dancing, A Vision," "Photographing Debra." Kestral
18 (2005): 54-58.

"Alligator Country" (reprinted), "Backyard Coid, c. 1960," "Renovation."
Salamander: Then and Now 10th Anniversary Issue  9.1-2 (2003): 134-38.

"Desert Botanical Garden."
Sou'wester 31.1 (fall 2002): 92.

"A Nickel Sun."
New England Review 23.2 (spring 2002): 145.

"Unreasonable Fears."
Boston College Magazine 62.2 (spring 2002): 5.

"Cruelty," "Florida Wake."
Seattle Review 20.1 (fall 1998): 117-18.

"For Frances, Who Can't Stop Dreaming of Danger, Even When the Children Are
Safe at Home."
Poetry Northwest 38.4 (winter 1997-98): 40.

"Nicholas, Refusing to Sleep," "Then, Nicholas."
Salamander 4.1 (spring 1996): 7-8.

"Love Poem."
The Madison Review 17.2 (fall 1995): 54.

The Harvard Review 9(fall 1995): 88.

"The Oath of Happiness."
Boston College Magazine 54.4 (fall 1995): 14.

"Alligator Country," "Elegy," "The Distance."
Salamander 3.1 (winter 1995): 65-7.

"Not Talking about God in America."
Red Brick Review 1995:14.

"Platia Talo," "Wifery."
Berkeley Poetry Review 27 (1993-94): 90-91.

Boston College Magazine 52.3 (summer 1993): 25.

Harvard Review 16.1 (spring 1993): 36-7.

"The Wreck of Days."
Indiana Review 16.1 (spring 1993): 186-90.

Sou'wester 20.3 (winter 1993): 29.

"Farm Animals."
Christian Science Monitor 85.62 (25 February 1993): 16.

"The Beach."
Soujourner 18.1 (Sept. 1992): 37.

Soujourner 17.12 (Aug. 1992): 6B.

Shenandoah 42.2 (summer 1992): 85.

"Petty Crime."
Dominion Review 10 (spring 1992): 22.

"Woman with Distaff."
Iris 24 (fall-winter 1990): 54.

The Boston Review 14.6 (Dec. 1989): 25.

"Elegy for Neil."
Southern Poetry Review 29.2 (fall 1989): 23.

"Debussy," "There Was a Temporary Accident."
The American Poetry Review 17.2
(Mar.-Apr. 1988): 21.

"The Artist and His Model," "The Bohemian Wedding," "The Wound-up Girl Ice
Fine Madness 3.2 (fall 1986): 6-9.

"In Rovaniemi, Finland."
Poetry Northwest 27.1 (spring 1986): 11-12.

"Coyotes," "Letters," "Travelers."
Seattle Review 9.1 (spring 1986): 79-82.

"Centralia Stop," "Jackson County Census."
The Seattle Review 7.1 (spring 1984):

"After 'Charming,'" "The Sunbather," "The Sunday Drunk."
Poetry 142.2 (May
1983): 90-93.

"Fossils," "Leaving Garibaldi."  
Poetry Northwest 23.4 (winter 1982-83): 39-41.

"Love in a Coal Mine," "Scotch Coulee," "Newspaper Pictures out of Poland,"
"Widow Aunts."
Poetry Northwest 23.2 (summer 1982): 26-29.

Poetry in anthologies

"Worry," "The Beach." Soujourner: A Feminist Anthology. Urbana: U of Illinois
Press, 2004. 113-14.

"The Wound-up Girl Ice Skater," "The Bohemian Wedding."
March Hares: The
Best Poems from Fine Madness
, 1982-2002. Seattle, WA: Fine Madness, 2002.

"First Words."
The Fruitful Branch: 21 Brookline Authors on Literature, Libraries,
Life. Brookline, MA: Brookline Library Foundation, 2002. 67.

"Scotch Coulee." Red, White, and a Paler Shade of Blue: Poems on the Finnish-
American Experience. Rhinelander, WI: Tamarack Publishing Co., 1996. 26-27.

"The Regulars," "Wifery."
For Living: Poetry of Work (companion anthology to
Working Classics). Urbana, IL: U Of Illinois Press, 1990. 256-58.

"Love in the Coal Mine."
Working Classics: Poems on Industrial Life. Urbana, IL: U
of Illinois Pres,, 1990. 160.

"The Sunday Drunk."
Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbooks of American
. Beverly Hills, CA: Monitor Book Co., 1984. 301.

Nonfiction Essays

“Fellow Workers. . .”, The Seattle Times June 27, 2005: B5.

“A Thank-You Note.”
Child February 2000: 104.

“Love Among the Ruins.”
Child February 1999: 111-12

“Days Like These.”
Child August 1998: 19.

Child May 1998: 119.

“When Nick Met Henry.”
Child Dec.-Jan. 1998: 151-2.

“He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Baby.”
New York Times Magazine Jan. 12, 1997: 54.

Book Reviews of Matson's work

Review of Matson’s
Hunger Moon
By Beth L. Virtanen, PhD

(This book review is a condensed version of one forthcoming in the Finnish
American Reporter. To locate the complete article, visit their website at

First published in 1997 and reprinted in 1997 and 1999 by Ballantine Reader’s
Circle by Random House, Suzanne Matson’s
Hunger Moon is a poignant work that
takes into its purview all phases of women’s lives. It addresses issues of
Altzheimer’s, bulimia, and immaturity in the process of the intimate study of one
girls’ growth into motherhood in the first few months of her son’s life and through
the experience her trek into adulthood.

Even though this book was published originally almost ten years ago, it is still
available new through Check also with North Wind Books at
Finlandia University for availability.

Matson’s Tree-Sitter Excellent
By Beth L. Virtanen, PhD

(This book review is a condensed version of one forthcoming in the Finnish
American Reporter. To locate the complete article, visit their website at

Suzanne Matson’s
Tree-Sitter (2000) is one in a series of works she has published
in the last fifteen years.

Tree-Sitter is a novel about a young woman’s loves for her self, her mother, and
her first adult relationship. In it, Julie Prince, a college student on summer break
before her senior year at Wellesley, leaves the comfortable wealthy home provided
by her mother to work with her new boyfriend Neil to save the last few stands of
virgin forests in Oregon from being logged off.

Tree-Sitter is published by Norton. Check with North Wind Books for availability.