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All at Once: Prose Poems Hardcover – April 1, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Williams, a major and much-honored poet of gravitas and wit, slicing social critique and sensuousness, has often written poems that tilt toward prose in their narrative drive and long lines. Here he fuses poetry, essay, and memoir to create prose poems instigated by the sort of moments that make you truly aware of the complexity of life. In these concise, lyrical, and penetrating musings and vignettes, Williams is beguiling, philosophical, provocative, and funny. He tells piquant stories about his apprenticeship to literature and sex; celebrates enduring romantic love in “Catherine’s Laughter,” a tribute to his wife; attempts to decipher the patois of the body as age invades; and closely observes the world around him, from the spell cast by a heron to the spontaneous dramas and farces enacted on city streets. But it is the theater of the mind that most compels Williams, from the slipperiness of memories to his bracing and clarifying “adversarial relationship” with himself. Williams’ prose poems are masterfully constructed, many-layered, supple, and arresting works of inquiry and candor, “all glowing in the astonishment of existence.” --Donna Seaman

Review

[Williams writes] in a voice dripping with equal parts nostalgia and self-interrogation . . . He muses on the minutiae of his life, keeping each vignette to a brief and tightly rendered prose poem . . . [Williams is] a master of poetics in his twilight years. (Publishers Weekly)

All at Once, defies easy categorization . . . What Williams has written here definitely are poems, but they're also simultaneously mini-memoirs or even flash fiction. It ultimately doesn't matter how we define them . . . The strongest parts of the book are those that look mortality in the eye . . . The similes often pop from the page . . . Some poems . . . may very well stand among the most rewarding of Williams' tremendous career . . . He's such a keen observer of our world--of our rhythms and our rhetorics. Given all of the chameleonic things he has achieved, perhaps it should come as no surprise to see Williams reinvent himself yet again as our elder statesman of TMI-overload and still continue to demonstrate why he's considered a national treasure. (Andrew Irvin, The Philadelphia Inquirer)
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