Poet and translator C.K. Williams was born in New Jersey in 1936 and was educated at the University of Pennsylvania. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University and lives part of the year in Paris.
Best known for his pioneering use of long, prose-like lines, Williams is a versatile and wide-ranging poet whose work is intensely personal at times, documentary and socially aware at others. In ‘The Clause’, he refers to “this entity I call my mind, this hive of restlessness, / this wedge of want my mind calls self, / this self which doubts so much and which keeps reaching, / keeps referring, keeps aspiring, longing, towards some state / from which ambiguity would be banished . . .” Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry, writes that C.K. Williams “is a master at dramatizing complicated psychological states, but he is also always equally concerned with the self’s relation to the larger world. He has created a signature style, which more and more seems a permanent part of our literature.” Peter Campion has observed that “like Yeats and Lowell before him, [Williams] writes from the borderland between private and public life”, while Paul Muldoon called him “one of the most distinguished poets of his generation”. Williams has translated into English the works of Francis Ponge, Adam Zagajewski, Issa, Euripides and Sophocles, and has written a memoir, a book of critical prose and a study of Walt Whitman.
He is recipient of the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a Lila Acheson Wallace/Reader’s Digest Fund Writer’s Award, the PEN/Voelker Career Achievement in Poetry Award, the Berlin Prize of the American Academy in Berlin, the Harriet Monroe Prize from the University of Chicago, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, a National Book Critics Circle Award, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. He has also received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
C.K. Williams was a guest at the 41st Poetry International Festival. This text was written for that occasion.
A Day for Anne Frank, Falcon Press, Philadelphia, PA, 1968
Lies, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1969
I Am the Bitter Name, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1972
With Ignorance, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1977
The Lark, the Thrush, the Starling, Burning Deck, Providence, RI, 1983
Tar, Random House, New York, NY, 1983
Flesh and Blood, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 1987
Poems 1963-1983, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 1988
Helen, Orchises Press, Washington, DC, 1991
A Dream of Mind, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 1992
Selected Poems, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 1994
New & Selected Poems, Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, 1995
The Vigil, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 1996
Repair, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 1999
Love about Love, Ausable Press, Keene, NY, 2001
The Singing, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 2003
Collected Poems, 19632006, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 2006
Wait, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 2010
Sophocles, Women of Trachis (with Gregory Dickerson), Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 1978
Euripides, Bacchae, Farrar, Straus, Giroux, New York, NY, 1990
Canvas (with Renata Gorczynski and Benjamin Ivry Adam Zagajewski), Farrar, Straus, Giroux, New York, NY, 1991
Selected Poems of Francis Ponge (with John Montague and Margaret Grissom), Wake Forest University Press, Winston-Salem, NC, 1994
Poetry and Consciousness, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI, 1998
Misgivings: My Mother, My Father, Myself, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, 2001