2010 Title » Poetry
In this collection of poems, Williams employs elements of both the narrative and surrealistic lyric—addressing subjects as diverse as family, alienation, political quandary, and artistic desire—in order to craft a darkly humorous and generally hard-hitting vision of the current state of contemporary America. In the words of Bob Hicok: "This is not the misanthrope's attack but the lover's hope for something better and true: a genuine self, a sustaining culture."
Jerry Williams was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. His first collection of poems, Casino of the Sun, was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award in 2003. His poetry and nonfiction have appeared in numerous magazines including American Poetry Review, Pleiades, Tin House, and Witness. He lives in New York City and teaches creative writing at Marymount Manhattan College.
Jerry Williams is as wired-weird as the nonexistent love child of James Wright and Anne Sexton. He has been Samuel Beckett's nonexistent great-nephew since some dark day twenty years ago when basketball and then alcohol failed to answer enough questions. The poems of Jerry Williams stare at you and ask, "If you don't have edge, what in hell do you have? Peace is death. But look, can we talk?" This poet of estrangement and panic finds ways to keep in touch; and we need that.
While Jerry Williams can be acerbic, insightful, and imaginative, what really drives his work is his desire to see through to his nature and ours. How he is awkward, how things don't fit, where he's gone wrong and how he wants to do right—these are some of the admissions of these poems. And though everyone is held to task here, often scathingly, I always have the sense that this is not the misanthrope's attack but the lover's hope for something better and true: a genuine self, a sustaining culture. "I believe in a world that remains just out of earshot," he writes, and it is that world he seeks to admit us to through these wonderful poems.
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