The poetry of C. K. Williams has won an essential place in contemporary American poetry. The long lines that have characterized his style since the mid-seventies have allowed him to make ever more radical forays into what Edward Hirsch, writing in The New York Times Book Review, has called "a unique and inclusive poetry of consciousness." A Dream of Mind (1992) is dominated by the long title poem, which explores the materials and qualities of our states of consciousness with enormous flexibility and suppleness. Other poems make similar investigations into jealousy, family life, and psychological and intellectual constructs. Passionate, truculent, humorous, and always questioning, Williams's poetry is, in more than one sense, the poetry of contemporary experience. This challenging, exhilarating book marks a new stage in a truly groundbreaking writer's constantly evolving work.
“[These] poems are nothing if not extreme. Relentless, urban, invasive--like city life itself, they are not for the faint-hearted. One of [Williams's] characteristic strategies is to dramatize the turbulence of the mind at work under terrific duress; that is, in the presence of others at moments of their greatest social weakness and vulunerability, moments when the fabric of daily life is torn open and someone is profoundly exposed . . . 'Poetry confronts in the most clear-eyed way just those emotions which consciousness wishes to slide by,' Williams wrote in his essay 'Poetry and Consciousness,' and in A Dream of Mind he has voraciously struggled to clarify that sliding, to unmask what is most painful and hidden in our psyches, and to embody that unmasking in the processes of lyric.” —Edward Hirsch, The New Republic -