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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  71 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Wait finds C. K. Williams by turns ruminative, stalked by “the conscience-beast, who harries me,” and “riven by idiot vigor, voracious as the youth I was for whom everything was going too slowly, too slowly.” Poems about animals and rural life are set hard by poems about shrapnel in Iraq and sudden desire on the Paris Métro; grateful invocations of Herbert and Hopkins give...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Cyril Wong
Aligning with Benjamin and Celan in his seventeenth collection of poems, Williams acknowledges, with great reverence, humility and conviction, a literary lineage and his own responsibilities in the present as a critic of historical violence. Benjamin’s notion that society is built on acts of barbarism, and Celan’s “black milk of daybreak” (“milk” as life contaminated by the “black” of violence in a German concentration camp; “daybreak” referring to a sky stained by the ash of cremated Jews) in h...more
James Murphy
I associate C. K. Williams with a long poetic line. When I was first introduced to his poetry it was partly an attraction to this long-line style. I have whole books of thse reliable poems, all with their lengthened lines requiring stretched breathing and mental attention. They are poems filling the page, huge collected and selected volumes, and volumes of singing, vigilant lines. One is a big volume of love poems made of those long lines so that you wonder how much more praise can be heaped on...more
The poems collected in this book range widely in subject matter, and for the most part, Williams does them justice. "Cows" is a good example of metaphor in poetry, while "Gaffe" and "Fish" are more narrative-like, the latter about a fish head laying on a sidewalk:

"Better stay here, with eyes of glass,
like people in advertisements,
and without bodies or blood,
like people in poems."

Another of Williams's strengths appears in his more philosophical pieces ("Brain", "Teachers", "Ethics", and "Apes")....more
Hearing a reading of these poems, and being told by the publisher that the long lines don't really care about linebreaks, I am glad I had a chance to hear Charlie read them aloud in person just before Thanksgiving, in Rochester, NY. The intricacy of a poem like "The Gaffe" which travels from a childhood memory to present where it still chafes, alongside just what it is to live with all these people in oneself, especially the critical one, is delightful and reassuring. I enjoy the sense of humor,...more
'I allow myself the thought that though I'm probably to her again / as senseless as that table of my youth, as wooden, as unfeeling, perhaps there was a moment I was not.'

- from 'On the Métro'.
A very good collection of poems from Williams. I grew bored of some of his more overtly political poems such as "The United States of America" and "Still, Again, Martin Luther King." Im saddened by the fact that our political leaders and climate seem to have worn Williams out and left him with a rage that needed to be released. On the other hand, the collection also includes some increibly beautiful lines that I'll always remember. On line, which gives the book it's title, reads "We, whose angui...more
Gabriel Oak
Williams is still the master of the long, Whitmanian line, and there are several wonderful poems in this collection. It doesn't have the precision or density of Repair, his Pulitzer-winning collection, but then some of that compression seems to have been traded in for something like the wisdom of age.
Erika Dreifus
I was drawn to this book by a review on Tablet (http://www.tabletmag.com/arts-and-cul...) that focused on the volume's closing poem, "Jew on Bridge." That poem remains, for me, a standout in this volume (indeed, it merits its own section; the book comprises four).

Among the other poems I am likely to remember for a long time: "Prisoners, "Roe vs Wade," and "Shrapnel." I'm especially intrigued by the evident inspiration Williams draws in some of these poems from other literary works.
Some poems were a 2 to me, some were 4s. Apes might have been a five. My favorite fragment from it, "It's occurred to me I've read enough; at my age all I'm doing is confirming my sadness. Surely the papers: war, terror, torture, corruption— it's like broken glass in the mind."
Jude Brigley
Do not remember reading this poet before. My favourite poem is typical of a teaher/student. It was 'Teachers'. Do we only appreciate our teachers fully in retrospect?
'I used to imagine her admirable wisdom
would magically migrate from her mind to mine'
Very assured writer.
Poets.org from the Academy of American Poets
Prepare for the 2010 Poets Forum in New York City (October 28-30) by reading Williams's newest book of poetry, and check out the Poets Forum 2010 bookshelf for the latest collections by each of the poets participating in the Poets Forum. Happy reading!
C K Williams is one of the premier poets of our time, and this satisfying collection contains poetry that will engage, perplex, and mystify anyone who reads it.
This was one of the 2011 RUSA Notable Books winners.
For the complete list, go to http://ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rusa/aw...
Sarah Rosenberger
I liked some of his poems, but others just made me feel like I was being lectured by an old, liberal English professor. Which I guess I was.
Maughn Gregory
I hardly every categorize a book as both philosophy and poetry - but here's one! I'm a recent but ardent Williams fan.
Read my review on New York Journal of Books: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/2010/...
Williams is a philosophical, cerebral poet.
Good stuff...just not so much my thing.
Dec 18, 2013 Anne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
A brilliant wordsmith, Williams' poetry covers the gamut of life.
Julie marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2014
Peter Danbury
Peter Danbury marked it as to-read
May 21, 2014
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C.K. Williams was born and grew up in and around Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in philosophy and English. He has published many books of poetry, including Repair, which was awarded the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, The Singing which won the National Book Award for 2003, and Flesh and Blood, the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Prize in 1987...more
More about C.K. Williams...
Repair Collected Poems The Singing Flesh and Blood Selected Poems

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