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Collected Poems

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Collected Poems Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Collected Poems brings together nearly four decades of C. K.Williamss work: more than four hundred poems that, though remarkable in their variety, have in common Williamss distinctive outlook—restless, passionate, dogged, and uncompromising in the drive to find words for the truth about life as we know it today.

 

Williamss rangy, elastic lines are measures of thought, and in these pages we watch them unfold from his confrontational early poems through the open, expansive Tar and With Ignorance. His voice is both cerebral and muscular, capable of both the eightline poems of Flesh and Blood and the inward soundings of A Dream of Mind—and of both together in the award-winning recent books Repair and The Singing. These poems feel spontaneous, individual, and directly representative of the experience of which they sing; open to life, they chafe against summary and conclusion.

 

Few poets leave behind them a body of work that is global in its ambition and achievement. C. K. Williams is one of them.

C. K. Williams is the author of nine books of poetry, including Flesh and Blood (National Book Critics Circle Award, 1987), Repair (Pulitzer Prize, 2000), and The Singing (National Book Award, 2003). His other books include translations of Sophocles' Women of Trachis, Euripides' Bacchae, and poems of Francis Ponge and Adam Zagajewski; a book of essays, Poetry of Consciousness; and a memoir, Misgivings. He is a member of American Academy of Arts and Letters and teaches at Princeton University.
Collected Poems brings together nearly four decades of C. K. Williams's work: more than four hundred poems that, though remarkable in their variety, have in common Williams's distinctive outlook—restless, passionate, dogged, and uncompromising in the drive to find words for the truth about life as we know it today.
 
For Williams, poetic forms are measures of thought, and in these pages we can see both the constancy of his preoccupations and the astonishing variety of means he has brought to the expression of them. His voice is both cerebral and muscular, capable of the eight-line poems of Flesh and Blood and the inward soundings of A Dream of Mind—and of the two together in the award-winning recent books Repair and The Singing. These poems feel spontaneous, individual, and directly representative of the experience of which they sing; open to life, they chafe against summary and conclusion.
 
Few poets leave behind them a body of work that is global in its ambition and achievement. C. K. Williams is one of them.
"Ever since his 1969 debut volume, Lies, Pulitzer Prize winner Williams has chronicled the misfortunes and miseries of everyday life in loquacious but plainspoken poems that more often resemble personal essays on a loose leash than they do poetry. This bookshelf-bending compendium gathers all of his published collections along with 21 new meditations on subjects such as water rats, shrapnel ('One wound is the next and the next'), a fish head, and a malformed thrush . . . His voice is ultimately compassionate . . . and he manages to construct safe houses for the unremarked, the forlorn, and the unsavory and in so doing imbue them with a tenuous, uneasy dignity. Recommended."—Library Journal
"C.K. Williams' poems are broad in scale and narrow in scope . . . His lines, longer than those written by any other significant English-language poet, suggest a big, Whitman-like appetite for worldly variety . . . When we think about what distinguishes Williams—his seriousness, intelligence and formal originality, his bracing skepticism about the claims of art matched to a tangible ambition to make art that matters—these ingredients seem as though they might result in indispensable poems, as indeed they often have."—Dan Chiasson, The New York Times Book Review
 
"Mr. Williams has supremely invented his poet. As a few poets do, he has created a world: turbulent, craggy and sometimes didactic. And one in which, with a warily agile skip or two among boxcars, a reader can find an explorer's reward."—Richard Eder, The New York Times
 
"No matter when readers first discover Williams, they can't help but be subsumed by the disconcerting beauty and unsparing candor of his vision. As this magnificent gathering of more than 400 poems affirms, Williams has not only celebrated life in all its glorious complexity in compassionate, long-lined, tidally powerful poems for four decades but also valiantly protested war and hate. A master of arresting juxtapositions, Williams considers love made and lost, fatherhood, and all the conflicts of city life. Protean and searching, he is also an unsentimental nature writer, addressing environmental fears, the instructive sight of a trapped wasp banging against a window, ubiquitous machine noise, woods felled, and ‘bloated tract mansions squatting where horses once ran. Book by book, Williams' resistance to destruction and corruption becomes more concentrated, and more resounding. The contents of 10 previous books are crowned with a set of clarion new poems to create a volume that belongs in every poetry collection."—Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
 

"Ever since his 1969 debut volume, Lies, Pulitzer Prize winner Williams has chronicled the misfortunes and miseries of everyday life in loquacious but plainspoken poems that more often resemble personal essays on a loose leash than they do poetry. This bookshelf-bending compendium gathers all of his published collections along with 21 new meditations on subjects such as water rats, shrapnel ('One wound is the next and the next'), a fish head, and a malformed thrush. Williams's vision of a world, in which human beings 'struggle to survive each other' can seem unrelentingly bleak . . . His voice is ultimately compassionate, though, and he manages to construct safe houses for the unremarked, the forlorn, and the unsavory and in so doing imbue them with a tenuous, uneasy dignity."— Fred Muratori, Library Journal

 

"Williams's characteristic poems can be recognized as his on the page, in the ear or indeed from across a room. With long lines and flat language, his best work has the rangy virtues of well-observed free verse, the spark and force of gritty, realistic short stories and the harrowing inwardness of no-nonsense personal essays about parents and children, lovers and strangers, New Jersey and France . . . This . . . tome shows new and old readers the long arc of this Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner's career, from the morbid sanguinities of his apprentice work to the careful, moving, stanzaic focus evident in 21 new poems."—Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Williams's characteristic poems can be recognized as his on the page, in the ear or indeed from across a room. With long lines and flat language, his best work (in breakthrough books like 1983's Tar and the 1987 tour-de-force Flesh and Blood) has the rangy virtues of well-observed free verse, the spark and force of gritty, realistic short stories and the harrowing inwardness of no-nonsense personal essays about parents and children, lovers and strangers, New Jersey and France. Eschewing hints and symbols, Williams simply says what he knows he has seen: 'the frail, false fusions and discursive chains of hope' or 'that astonishing thing that happens when you crack a needle-awl into a block of ice.' A Dream of Mind (1992) takes Williams's long, long lines into an almost Stevensian territory of abstract nouns and reflexive meditations on pity, fear and memory; later volumes, such as Repair (1999), soften Williams's typically violent pictures, more forgivingly portraying 'this wedge of want my mind calls self.' This weighty, even daunting, tome shows new and old readers the long arc of this Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner's career, from the morbid sanguinities of his apprentice work to the careful, moving, stanzaic focus evident in 21 new poems." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

"Collected Poems" brings together nearly four decades of C.K. Williams's work: more than 400 poems that, though remarkable in their variety, have in common Williams's distinctive outlook.

Synopsis:

All the work of this major poet who has "set a new standard for American poetry."*

Collected Poems brings together in one volume C. K. Williams's work of nearly forty years, enabling readers to follow the career of this great poet through its many phases and reinventions.

Here are his confrontational early poems, which bristle with a young idealist's righteous anger. Here are the roomy, rangy poems of Tar and With Ignorance, in which Williams married the long line of Whitman to a modern's psychological self-scrutiny; the compact sonnets of Flesh and Blood; and the inward investigations of A Dream of Mind. Here are the incomparable poems from the prize winning books Repair and The Singing. Here, too, are new poems, in which Williams's moral vigilance is brought to bear, again, on life during wartime. Collected Poems is the life's work of a modern master--fiercely intelligent, arresting in its beauty, unforgettable in its echoes and reverberations.

Synopsis:

Collected Poems brings together nearly four decades of C. K.Williams's work: more than four hundred poems that, though remarkable in their variety, have in common Williams's distinctive outlook--restless, passionate, dogged, and uncompromising in the drive to find words for the truth about life as we know it today.

Williams's rangy, elastic lines are measures of thought, and in these pages we watch them unfold from his confrontational early poems through the open, expansive Tar and With Ignorance. His voice is both cerebral and muscular, capable of both the eightline poems of Flesh and Blood and the inward soundings of A Dream of Mind--and of both together in the award-winning recent books Repair and The Singing. These poems feel spontaneous, individual, and directly representative of the experience of which they sing; open to life, they chafe against summary and conclusion.

Few poets leave behind them a body of work that is global in its ambition and achievement. C. K. Williams is one of them.

About the Author

C. K. Williams's books of poetry include Repair (Pulitzer Prize, 2002) and The Singing (National Book Award, 2003). He is also the author of a memoir, Misgivings. He teaches at Princeton University and lives part of the year in France.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374126520
Author:
Williams, C. K.
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Subject:
General
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
General Poetry
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Subject:
Single Author / American
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20061031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes an Index of Titles and an Index
Pages:
704
Dimensions:
9.1 x 6.1 x 1.5 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

Collected Poems New Hardcover
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Product details 704 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374126520 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Williams's characteristic poems can be recognized as his on the page, in the ear or indeed from across a room. With long lines and flat language, his best work (in breakthrough books like 1983's Tar and the 1987 tour-de-force Flesh and Blood) has the rangy virtues of well-observed free verse, the spark and force of gritty, realistic short stories and the harrowing inwardness of no-nonsense personal essays about parents and children, lovers and strangers, New Jersey and France. Eschewing hints and symbols, Williams simply says what he knows he has seen: 'the frail, false fusions and discursive chains of hope' or 'that astonishing thing that happens when you crack a needle-awl into a block of ice.' A Dream of Mind (1992) takes Williams's long, long lines into an almost Stevensian territory of abstract nouns and reflexive meditations on pity, fear and memory; later volumes, such as Repair (1999), soften Williams's typically violent pictures, more forgivingly portraying 'this wedge of want my mind calls self.' This weighty, even daunting, tome shows new and old readers the long arc of this Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner's career, from the morbid sanguinities of his apprentice work to the careful, moving, stanzaic focus evident in 21 new poems." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , "Collected Poems" brings together nearly four decades of C.K. Williams's work: more than 400 poems that, though remarkable in their variety, have in common Williams's distinctive outlook.
"Synopsis" by ,
All the work of this major poet who has "set a new standard for American poetry."*

Collected Poems brings together in one volume C. K. Williams's work of nearly forty years, enabling readers to follow the career of this great poet through its many phases and reinventions.

Here are his confrontational early poems, which bristle with a young idealist's righteous anger. Here are the roomy, rangy poems of Tar and With Ignorance, in which Williams married the long line of Whitman to a modern's psychological self-scrutiny; the compact sonnets of Flesh and Blood; and the inward investigations of A Dream of Mind. Here are the incomparable poems from the prize winning books Repair and The Singing. Here, too, are new poems, in which Williams's moral vigilance is brought to bear, again, on life during wartime. Collected Poems is the life's work of a modern master--fiercely intelligent, arresting in its beauty, unforgettable in its echoes and reverberations.

"Synopsis" by ,
Collected Poems brings together nearly four decades of C. K.Williams's work: more than four hundred poems that, though remarkable in their variety, have in common Williams's distinctive outlook--restless, passionate, dogged, and uncompromising in the drive to find words for the truth about life as we know it today.

Williams's rangy, elastic lines are measures of thought, and in these pages we watch them unfold from his confrontational early poems through the open, expansive Tar and With Ignorance. His voice is both cerebral and muscular, capable of both the eightline poems of Flesh and Blood and the inward soundings of A Dream of Mind--and of both together in the award-winning recent books Repair and The Singing. These poems feel spontaneous, individual, and directly representative of the experience of which they sing; open to life, they chafe against summary and conclusion.

Few poets leave behind them a body of work that is global in its ambition and achievement. C. K. Williams is one of them.

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