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A selection from the last twenty years of C. K. Williams's career, plus new work—proof of his enduring power
C. K. Williams's long career has been a catalog of surprises, of inventions and reinventions, of honors. His one constant is a remarkable degree of flexibility, a thrilling ability to shape-shift that goes hand in hand with an essential, enduring honesty. This rare, heady mix has ensured that William's verses have remained, from book to book, as fresh and vibrant as they were when he first burst onto the scene.
Selected Later Poems—a generous selection of the last two decades of Williams's poetry, capped by a gathering of new work—is a testament to that enduring vibrancy. Here are the passionate, searching, clear-eyed explorations of empathy in The Vigil; here is the candor and revelation of Repair; here is the agonizing morality of The Singing and Wait, and the unsparing reflections on aging of Writers Writing Dying; here are the poignant prose vignettes of All at Once.
Williams's poetry is essential because its lyric beauty, precise and revealing images, and elegant digressions are coupled to a conscience both uneasy and unflinching. Selected Later Poems is at once a celebration of Williams's career, an affirmation of his continued position in the pantheon of American poets, and a kind of reckoning—a reminder of the ways in which art can serve both beauty and justice.