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poet

C. K. Williams

1936-2015 , Newark , NJ , United States
Chancellor 2004-2010
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Charles Kenneth Williams was born on November 4, 1936, in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in South Orange, New Jersey. After attending high school in Maplewood, New Jersey, Williams enrolled in Bucknell College but later transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied philosophy and English. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1959. Williams briefly enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania's writing program but left before earning his degree.

He authored numerous books of poetry, including Selected Later Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015); 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 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007); The Singing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003), which won the National Book Award; Repair (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999), winner of a Pulitzer Prize; The Vigil (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997); A Dream of Mind (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992); Flesh and Blood (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1987), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; Tar (Vantage, 1983); With Ignorance (Houghton Mifflin, 1977); I Am the Bitter Name (Houghton Mifflin, 1972); and Lies (Houghton Mifflin, 1969).

Williams 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 were 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 taught in the creative writing program at Princeton University from 1996 until shortly before his death. He died on September 20, 2015, in his home in Hopewell, New Jersey.


Selected Bibliography

Selected Later Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015)
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 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007)
The Singing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003)
Repair (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999)
The Vigil (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997)
A Dream of Mind (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992)
Flesh and Blood (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1987)
Tar (Vintage, 1983)
With Ignorance (Houghton Mifflin, 1977)
I Am the Bitter Name (Houghton Mifflin, 1972)
Lies (Hougton Mifflin, 1969)
 

by this poet

poem
Tar
The first morning of Three Mile Island: those first disquieting, uncertain,			
          mystifying hours.
All morning a crew of workmen have been tearing the old decrepit roof
          off our building,
and all morning, trying to distract myself, I've been wandering out to 
          watch them
as they hack
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

 

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collected in

collection
We were deeply saddened to hear the news that C. K. Williams died on S...