- Title: The Singing
- Author: C.K. Williams
- ISBN: 9780374529505
- Page: 428
- Format: Paperback
New work from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Repair Reality has put itself so solidly before methere s little need for mystery Except for us, for how we take the worldto us, and make it , than we are, even than itself from The World The awards given to C.K Williams two most recent books a National Book Award for The Singing and a PulitzNew work from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Repair Reality has put itself so solidly before methere s little need for mystery Except for us, for how we take the worldto us, and make it , than we are, even than itself from The World The awards given to C.K Williams two most recent books a National Book Award for The Singing and a Pulitzer Prize for Repair complete the process by which Williams, long admired for the intensity and formal daring of his work, has come to be recognized as one of the few truly great living American poets Williams treats the characteristic subjects of a poet s maturity the loss of friends, the love of grandchildren, the receding memories of childhood, the baffling illogic of current events with an intensity and drive that recall not only his recent work but also his early books, published forty years ago The Singing is a direct and resonant book searing, hearfelt, permanent.The Singing is the winner of the 2003 National Book Award for Poetry.
Recent Comments "The Singing"
Whenever I finish a book by C.K. Williams I immediately ask myself, "Why have I waited so long to read this?" There are few poets who have the ability to consistently stun. Williams was one of them. I suppose I space out his books because I know there are only so many, and that he's gone now so no more are coming. Need to ration them out. Save some for next year, retirement.
There were a couple of poems that I liked but on the whole, there's nothing about this collection of poems that makes me want to sing praises. Maybe I've forgotten how to appreciate poetry or maybe I don't get free verse that modern poems often take on.
One of my favorite poems from this collection:LeavesA pair of red leaves spinning on one anotherin such wildly erratic patterns over a frozen fieldit's hard to tell one from another and whetherit they were creatures they'd be in combat or courtingor just exalting in the tremendousness of their being.Humans can be like that, capricious, aswirl,not often enough in exalting, but courting, yes,and combat; so often in combat, in rancor, in rage,we rarely even remember what error or lieset off this ph [...]
I've read this collection of poems many times, and just reread it. The first poem, The Doe, is perfect.With my recent reading, I found I also loved "Lessons." Here is an excerpt: "Those who touch us, those whom we touch / we hold them or we let them go / as though it were such a small matter. / How even know in truth how much / of mind should be memory, no less / what portion of self should be others / rather than self? " And, now, I think, that C.K. Williams himself has become a portion of myse [...]
I admire the many different voices, styles, and structures Williams uses in this book, but most of the poems did not do much for me. Some were OK, nothing is bad, but one poem is so outstanding that it turned a 2 star book into a 3, and that is the very long "Elegy for an Artist," written in tribute to a deceased friend. It is beautifully rendered, moving, and as episodic as memory. Get this book for this poem. It is worth it.
I'm still reading this book of poetrybut what comes across most strongly—his tenacity— his search for truth across ethical boundaries, his linguistic skill, his vivid narration, his intuitive trust in craftsmanship and the ways these gifts come together to form "The Singing." He seems to play out these chords expertly—and then to heap them into one little basket. I carry this slim book around with me, humming. If you ask me what I'm humming, I'll show you the book.
DangerWatch out, you might fall, as that one fell,or fall ill, as he or she did, or die,or worse, not die, be insufficient,less than what should be your worth.Be cautious of your body, which isn't you,though neither are you its precise other;you're what it feels, and the knowingwhat's felt, yet no longer quite there.Your life is first of all what may be lost,its ultimate end to not end.-C.K. Williams, excerpt from "Of Childhood the Dark"
I enjoyed his 'easy' and truth-seeking observations."Your truths will seek you, though you still mustconstruct and comprehend them,"The last poem, 'The Tract' asks, for "the hope that someday I'll accept without qualm or question that thereality of others the love of others the miracle of others all that which feels like enough is truly enough."(I'm putting those lines on my bathroom mirror.)
I'm having trouble remembering this collection. But I remember really liking the title poem in particular. I saw him read it at the National Book Awards Nominees reading and he basically blew everyone away. Or maybe he just blew me away & I projected my reaction onto everyone else. Anyway, he's great.
Not my favorite Williams collection--he seems to be following the trend I see in Levine, Bidart, Kinnell, and other aging poets, in that their latter collections replicate their early work, but less effectively. I don't suspect I can come down too hard on them, but one can't help noticing, as a reader, the subtle tapering off in many of their more recent books.
I skimmed this volume because I was unable to immerse myself in the hefty stories these poems attempted to enter. Many of the poems lacked the vibrant imagery found in Williams's other work, something that prevented enjoyment and perspective-changing revelations.
Written in the first years after 9/11, these poems carry the stink and sorrow and fatigue of war, but also an intense love of humanity and the natural world, and a fearless, hopeful search for meaning. I was deeply moved by this collection and especially by the last poem.
811.54 W7221s 2003
read the first ten poems or so. didn't like them
"This Happened" was my favorite.
[ no stars ]
C. K. is one of my favorite poets. I like the way his poems think, and I admire the virtuosity of his sentences. Also, his prose collection, Poetry and Consciousness is thoughtful and informing.
I really enjoyed this collection. C. K. Williams has this uncanny ability to write poems within poems, many lines stand on their own as well as to the poem they are in.
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