For his Selected Poems, C. K. Williams has chosen from three decades of his work - ranging from his early poems to a group of new poems - to produce a volume that represents every aspect of his remarkable career. The book opens with poems from Lies (1969) and I Am the Bitter Name (1971), which introduced Williams as one of the most gifted poets of his generation, and moves on to an exquisite series of poems inspired by the Japanese poet Issa. These are followed by a substantial portion of With Ignorance (1977), where Williams first explored the bold, sinewy, capacious long line that has become a hallmark of his work - and one of the genuine innovations in postwar American poetry. The selections from his subsequent work, Tar (1983), Flesh and Blood (1987), and A Dream of Mind (1992), show him mastering that line in fiercely unsentimental, succinct eight-line vignettes, and longer poems in which his vigilant sensibility ranges over the American moral landscape with a characteristic authority and intensity of insight. The book closes with thirteen new poems in which the metaphysical aspect of Williams's recent work emerges with fresh and striking directness.
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