Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Disinheritance: Poems Paperback – September 1, 2016
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
In John SibleyWilliams' "amalgam of real /and fabled light" one is able to believe again inthe lyric poem as beautiful--if difficult--proof of private space. As withfamilies, histories, selves, Sibley writes: "we like to believe / what we makewill save us." Disinheritancecontends intimately with loss, to be sure - but it also proposes the poem as away to remember, to persist, to be oneself, to believe. And to persist whenbelief may not be possible within the bounds of the shores the seas impose uponus.
--Joan Naviyuk Kane
There is eternallonging in these poems of John Sibley Williams. A yearning for what cannot beunderstood. A song for what simply is. A distance beyond human measurement. Thedead and alive dancing, hurting, and praying at the mouth of what must be thebeginning of time. A series of profound losses giving birth to words nodifferent from medicine.
In John SibleyWilliams' moving, somber collection, the power of elegy, reverie, and threnodytranscends the disinheritance caused by separation. These compellinglyatemporal poems form the locus wherein generations of a family can gather.Here, Williams' lyric proto-language--elemental, archetypal, primordial--subsumesbarriers of time and space. His poems create their own inheritance.
--Paulann Petersen,Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita
--Michael Dennis' Today's Book of Poetry
--Vallum: Contemporary Poetry
--The Driftless Area Review
About the Author
John Sibley Williams is the author of nine poetrycollections, most recently Disinheritance (Apprentice House, 2016) and ControlledHallucinations (FutureCyclePress, 2013), and has served as editor of the two Northwest poetry anthologies Alive at the Center (Ooligan Press, 2013) and Motionless from the Iron Bridge (barebones books, 2013). A five-timePushcart nominee, John has won the PhilipBooth Poetry Prize, AmericanLiterary Review Poetry Contest, Nancy D. HargrovePrize, and Vallum Awardfor Poetry. A few previous publishing credits include: The MidwestQuarterly Review, BaltimoreReview, American Literary Review, Third Coast, december, NimrodInternational Journal, HotelAmerika, Rio Grande Review, Inkwell, Cider Press Review,Bryant Literary Review, Cream City Review, RHINO, and various anthologies.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Thematically, "Disinheritance" (despite its title) is about the things we inherit, observe, and pass along, from one generation to the next -- grandfather to mother, mother to son, son to his own children, in turn -- the connections that link our seemingly separate lives. And, though many of the poems concern grief and death, inevitable loss ("November Country, Grief is a Primitive Art," "A Dead Boy Learns Metaphor"), they are testaments to the mysteries and beauties of the people who inhabit them. They are present, not past:
"You are no longer what you were, I whisper
like a lullaby over an emptied cradle,
and you will always be alongside me,
where you've never been." ["I Sit My Grandfather by the Mouth of the Columbia River"]
The poems dance elegantly between life and death, "Forth and Back," as one poem is titled, over the "unforgiving floodwaters / that eclipse our little vessel." They are full of paradox and complexity:
"I tell him nothing
exists that is not for you /
we must create
the forest to burn the forest" ["In the Kingdom of Moths"]
And that's what makes them them vital. For nothing less could adequately convey the essential "whatness" of this earthly existence. Or as Williams says in the book's final poem, "Denouement":
"Breath weakens its search
for more of the same. On the porch between us stars
are implied. Or roots. Her shoes with just enough wind left
No. I can not. I am sobered and grim. And I feel wiser, as though I've took metaphoric steps aside Williams in his lyrical examinations of melancholy and loss, the sharp edges dealt by life and the dulled fervor of each present moment.
That's not to say that this a collection of dark poetry, or even universally sullen. They aren't there are poems in here that pulse with hope and expectation. However, the large body of these pieces are nostalgic of something or someone beyond the writer's reach. As a reader, I mourned with Williams. After all these years, I shouldn't be surprised at the poet who writes with a raw disregard for his own emotional safety. I shouldn't applaud a poet for his or her bravery. But I still do.
I am humbled by his talent and his bravery.
Bravo, John Sibley Williams.
There is a haunting feeling to his work. “Distant, /I can hear a dead boy/still marking the walls/in crayon/inside.” Fourteen words – so much longing. Williams has a deft touch for creating a world of meaning in a metaphor. His words are terse and sparse, containing all the world. “I study the estranged hues/of once-known trees” – what is hidden so achingly in hues that are estranged. “A star resting heavy on the roof.” “Swing sets puncture the sky.” Familiar verbs, yet not so.
There is a hush to these offerings, like a prayer. Poems are an intimate excursion into a world that is known, yet not. That is alien, yet familiar. In reading Disinheritance, Williams gently, harshly brings us into his gestalt and it is stunning. There is a tenacious balance created between what is the author; what is the reader; what is eternal. I felt I knew Williams through his elegiac language, sharing the same moments in place as he held out before me. These poems left me wanting more, yet were surprisingly enough. Like the action of being disinherited. The implication of being left out from something ineffable - a loss that you never owned – resonates in the poems. Williams uses the notion of being deprived or prevented from something necessary to draw the reader into his world. And something being taken away is captured in the spaces of what is left. Try “A Dead Buy Fishes with His Dead Grandfather” or
“Penance.” All the uncertainties of life made bare.