Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C. K. Williams
C. K. Williams
Born in 1936, C. K. Williams won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer for poetry, and served as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets...
More >
Want more poems?
Subscribe to our
Poem-A-Day emails.
FURTHER READING
Related Prose
Video: A Poem's Source
by Anthony Hecht
Video: Chickens and the Funnies
by Kay Ryan
Video: Learning Your Own Language
by W. S. Merwin
Video: The Miraculous Thing To Do
by Louise Glück
Video: The Other Twenty-Three Hours
by John Ashbery
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print

Video: Having a Master

 
by C. K. Williams

From The Poet's View documentary film series, which features intimate profiles of Kay Ryan, John Ashbery, Louise Glück, Anthony Hecht, W. S. Merwin, and C. K. Williams. Available in the Poetry Store.

Transcript

The first poets that I attached to, the first one that I felt was somehow characterologically close to me was the French poet Baudelaire. And then I studied Yeats and Eliot in school and Yeats became very important to me, and then the German poet Rilke. And then from then I've always had a master or two, someone, some poet who I felt I was learning from. Sometimes it was George Herbert, sometimes it was Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost—the list is really endless; I seem to be an eternal student in poetry. When I go through a period when I don't have someone who I feel is teaching me, I can feel bereft.

People say that my poetry is political—I tend to think of it not so much as political, as being as conscious as it can be. And if you're as conscious of yourself as you can be, then of necessity you include, let's call them social and cultural tensions rather than political tensions. And there are times when I've had to be careful that I didn't become too political in my poems, that I didn't become too shrill or too...propagandistic, one would say. But I find that it's impossible not to think of these things when I think of myself, of my own life, and then of my work which comes out of my own life.

[Williams reads "Cassandra, Iraq"]




Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.