Thursday, December 14, 2006

C.K. Williams

I just received my copy of the Collected Poems of C.K. Williams (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006). I've been aware of Williams's poems for many years and (of course) often see his work. For example, one of his poems is in the current New Yorker. What I've paid attention to, I've liked, but I've never felt compelled by the body of Williams's work. I often have this reaction if a poet is writing beyond my capacity to read. By which I (sometimes) mean, "Beyond my capacity to read the poems patiently and without distraction."

Everyone at Warren Wilson raved about Tar (Random House, 1983), but I was never able to find a copy of the book--I think it was out of print by the late 1990's. Perhaps it's time to give his work another look.

This is a convoluted way of saying that I'm glad to have his poems in one place and in my hands.

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Wrote letters to potential blurbers this morning and worked on getting the manuscript into the proper word-processing format, etc., to send to the press.

I am tired.

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Here's something from Judith Hemschemeyer's translation of The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova (Zephyr Press, 1992). Akhmatova wrote this (as a fragment and without a title) in 1914:

You shouldn't be in my dreams so often,
Since we meet so frequently,
But you are sad, troubled and tender
Only in night's sanctuary.
And sweeter to me than the praise of saraphim
Is your lips' dear flattery...
Oh, in dreams you don't confuse my name,
Or sigh, as you do here.

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