Winner of the National Book Award
A Booklist Editors' Choice
In his first volume of poems since Repair, which was awarded the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, Williams treats the characteristic subjects of a poet's maturity—the loss of friends, the love of grandchildren, the receding memories of childhood, the baffling illogic of current events—with an intensity and drive that recall not only his recent work but also his early books, which were published some forty years ago.
Williams here gazes at a Rembrandt self-portrait, and from it fashions a self-portrait of his own. He ponders an "anatomical effigy" at the Museum of Mankind, an in so doing "dissects" our common humanity. Stoking a fire at a house in the country, he recalls a friend who was burned horribly in war, and then turns, with eloquence and authority, to contemporary life during wartime, asking "how those with power over us can effect these things, by what cynical reasoning do they pardon themselves."
The Singing is a direct and resonant book of poems: touching, searching, heartfelt, permanent.