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November 17, 1992French Institue Alliance Fran‡aiseFrom the Academy Audio Archive

About this poet

In 1936, C. K. Williams was born in Newark, New Jersey. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including All at Once: Prose Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014); Writers Writing Dying: Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012); Wait: Poems (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2010); Collected Poems (2007); The Singing (2003), which won the National Book Award; Repair (1999), winner of a Pulitzer Prize; The Vigil (1997); A Dream of Mind (1992); Flesh and Blood (1987), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; Tar (1983); With Ignorance (1997); I Am the Bitter Name (1992); and Lies (1969).

Williams has also published five works of translation: Selected Poems of Francis Ponge (1994); Canvas, by Adam Zagajewski (with Renata Gorczynski and Benjamin Ivry, 1991); The Bacchae of Euripides (1990); The Lark. The Thrush. The Starling. (Poems from Issa) (1983); and Women of Trachis, by Sophocles (with Gregory Dickerson, 1978).

Among his many awards and honors are an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, and a Pushcart Prize. He served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Williams teaches in the creative writing program at Princeton University and lives part of each year in Paris.

Multimedia

 

 

The Covenant

C. K. Williams, 1936

 

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C. K. Williams

C. K. Williams

Born on November 4, 1936, C. K. Williams won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer for poetry, and served on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets.

by this poet

poem
1

If that someone who's me yet not me yet who judges me is always with me, 
as he is, shouldn't he have been there when I said so long ago that thing 
   I said?

If he who rakes me with such not trivial shame for minor sins now were
   there then,
shouldn't he have warned me he'd even now devastate me
poem

          A young mother on a motor scooter stopped at a traffic light, her little son perched 
on the ledge between her legs; she in a gleaming helmet, he in a replica of it, smaller, but 
the same color and just as shiny.  His visor is swung shut, hers is open.
          As I pull up beside
poem

 

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