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.