Writers Writing Dying : Since his first poetry collection, Lies, C. K. Williams has nurtured an incomparable reputation - as a deeply moral poet, a writer of profound emotion, and a teller of compelling stories. In Writers Writing Dying, he retains the essential parts of his poetic identity - his candor, the drama of his verses, the social conscience of his themes - while slyly reinventing himself, re-casting his voice, and in many poems examining the personal - sexual desire, the hubris of youth, the looming specter of death - more bluntly and bravely than ever.
In "Prose," he confronts his nineteen year-old self, who despairs of writing poetry, with the question "How could anyone know this little?" In a poem of meditation, "The Day Continues Lovely," he radically expands the scale of his attention: "Meanwhile cosmos roars on with so many voices we can't hear ourselves think. Galaxy on. Galaxy off. Universe on, but another just behind this one . . . " Even the poet's own purpose is questioned; in "Draft 23" he asks, "Between scribble and slash - are we trying to change the world by changing the words?"
With this wildly vibrant collection - by turns funny, moving, and surprising - Williams proves once again that, he has, in Michael Hofmann's words, "as much scope and truthfulness as any American poet since Lowell and Berryman."