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C. K. Williams

  • American poet
  • Born November 4, 1936
  • Died September 20, 2015

Charles Kenneth "C. K." Williams (November 4, 1936 – September 20, 2015) was an American poet, critic and translator. Williams won nearly every major poetry award. Flesh and Blood won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1987. Repair (1999) won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, was a National Book Award finalist and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The Singing won the National Book Award, 2003 and in 2005 Williams received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. The 2012 film Tar related aspects of Williams' life using his poetry.


I don't think of reflection on dark things as necessarily dark.




Poems have a different music from ordinary language, and every poem has a different kind of music of necessity, and that's, in a way, the hardest thing about writing poetry is waiting for that music, and sometimes you never know if it's going to come.




I don't like denial. I don't like repression.




A dark poem is meant to redeem the dark part.




Sometimes you have a poem that you really want to write and it never happens.




One becomes a grandfather and one sees the world a little differently. Certainly the world becomes a more vulnerable place when one has a grandchild, or now I have two. And I think that possibly there's some tenderness that came out of just time and age and being a parent and grandparent.




If you spend your whole life being depressed about life, you're wasting it.




I tended to write poems about both social and spiritual problems, and some problems one doesn't really want to solve, and so the problems themselves are solved. You certainly don't want to solve problems in poems that haven't been solved in the world.




When you begin to write poems because you love language, because you love poetry. Something happens that makes you write poems. And the writing of poems is incredibly pleasurable and addictive.




My father read poetry to me, encouraged me to memorize poems. But the writing of it was quite a different thing.




I think poetry always lives its life, and people come to it and people go away from it, 'people' in the sense of larger numbers of people. It's as though you begin to think that poetry is a resource, and that at certain times people seem to need it or want it or can find sustenance in it, and at other times they can't.



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