C. K. Williams’s books of poetry include Flesh and Blood, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; Repair, which won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; and The Singing, winner of the National Book Award. Williams was awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2005. He has written a critical study, On Whitman; a memoir, Misgivings; and two books of essays, the most recent of which is In Time: Poets, Poems, and the Rest. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. (Author photo by Benoit Cortet)
C. K. Williams has never been afraid to push the boundaries of poetic form—in fact, he’s known for it, with long, lyrical lines that compel, enthrall, and ensnare. In his latest work, All at Once, Williams again embodies this spirit of experimentation, carving out fresh spaces for himself and surprising his readers once more with inventions both formal and lyrical.
Somewhere between prose poems, short stories, and personal essays, the musings in this collection are profound, personal, witty, and inventive. Here are the starkly beautiful images that also pepper his poems: a neighbor’s white butane tank in March “glares in the sunlight, raw and unseemly, like a breast inappropriately unclothed in the painful chill.” Here are the tender, masterful sketches of characters Williams has encountered: a sign painter and skid-row denizen who makes an impression on the young soon-to-be poet with his “terrific focus, an intensity I’d never seen in an adult before.” And here are a husband’s hymns to his beloved wife, to her laughter, which “always has something keen and sweet to it, an edge of something like song.”All at Once
Farrar, Straus and Giroux