Some Jazz a While : COLLECTED POEMS
Some Jazz a While, the eagerly anticipated collected poems of one of America's best-loved poets, gathers Miller Williams's most representative work and adds some new pieces as well. This generous collection welcomes newcomers as well as longtime admirers of Williams's trademark style: a compact and straightforward language, a masterful command of form, and an unsentimental approach to his subject matter. Williams treats the mundane interchanges, the lingering uncertainties, the missed opportunities, and the familiar sense of loss that mark daily life with the surgeon's deft touch. An American original, Miller Williams involves the reader's emotions and imagination with an effective illusion of plain talk, continually rediscovering what is vital and musical in the language we speak and by which we imagine.
- Paperback | 264 pages
- 152 x 229 x 21.34mm | 439.98g
- 01 May 1999
- University of Illinois Press
- Baltimore, United States
MILLER WANTS THIS QUOTE USED WHENEVER POSSIBLE: "His work has always been out there, reminding us that earthy experience and rigorous form are made for each other." - R.T. Smith,Shenandoah "[Williams] had been rather quietly assembling, with rare dedication and devotion to his craft, a body of work that is astounding for its variety and finish... It is startling to notice that Williams' poetry has exhibited wisdom from the beginning... There are several poems here which made me put the book down and laugh until my wife came down the hall to see what was up. Certain others made me put it down againand look out the window a while, letting the good tears fall. It has been a while since I have been this grateful for a book of poems, so certain that it will be with me all the days of my life." - Henry Taylor, Poetry "I read each new volume of his with full confidence that I am in safe hands, but also with anticipation, knowing that no matter how familiar his excellences are to me, I shall find occasions for surprise." -Fred Chappell, Georgia Review "One of our very finest poets in full stride." - Harvard Review "Williams is one of those rare poets who has managed to construct a spacious middleground between the artless and the arty; the title of his collected poems, Some Jazz a While, identifies our only indigenous art form where, to borrow a phrasefrom Mr. Berlin, it's entirely appropriate to go slumming on Park Avenue...Williams ... manages[s] to satisfy the yearning that many of us have for thememorable phrase we wish we'd said, the insight we might have had were ourperceptions a tad keener... [William's poems are] reflective of this poet's deepreverence for the most unlikely sources of verbal magic." - R.S. Gwynn, The Hudson Review "[Williams is] more formal than William Stafford, but almost as fluently productive; more cosmopolitan than Wendell Berry,but as preoccupied with America and Americanness" - Publishers Weekly "I am delighted to meet Miller's literary persona en masse and to find in hisCollected Poems the orneriest cultural complexity. His is a world of shrewd and mortal observation, especially when mortality pretends too much." - Gordon T. Osing, Arkansas Review "The poet Miller Williams in his latest book, Some Jazz a While, offers the many fans of his earthy and genuine style a collection of Williams' most representative works, along with some fresh flowers for picking in a 279-page garden of prose... Williams is at his best when telling rawboned tales of life at itsdeepest roots... You will not regret buying this book." - Mike Masterson,Northwest Arkansas Times "This is a terrific introduction to the distinguished work of Arkansas's best-known contemporary poet... The poems are sophisticated, intelligent, wry, whimsical andmostly short, and the voice is as place-distinctive of Arkansas as, say, Robert Frost's was of New England. It's a wise voice, unloud, unbitter, increasingly avuncular." - Bob Lancaster, Arkansas Times "A celebration is in order. In Some Jazz a While: Collected Poems Miller Williams has delivered a gift from the hills... That a poet can hold ourattention for four decades is not a common achievement... Williams' humor is best understood as wit, arch wordplay that teases the intelligence... Its faithful readers take delight in the thought imbedded in the music of the language rather than the concocted image... Some Jazz a While will compel a full-scale critical appreciation. More importantly, this collection is a rich feast for those who know Williams well and for those who have never had the pleasure." - Ben Johnson, Arkansas Democrat Gazette "Miller Williams is both a surprise and a delight. He's witty and sly and his words slide right into your life as refreshingly and deliciously as rain on the hottest day of the year... Williams makes you want to call back all the moments you've missed in your life and make them real." - Ruth Moose, The Pilot, Southern Pines,N.C. Praise for Miller Williams: "Miller Williams is one of those writers whose books drag me snorkeling happily along. Happy as a pig among truffles, I hurry to the next treasure." - William Stafford "There is no other voice like Miller Williams's. I'd know one of his poems in a dark room, dark alley, dark church where no names are given."- Betty Adcock "[Williams looks] at what everyone has looked at, seeing what no one has seen."-Howard Nemerov "His poems reveal the basic spirit and needs of humanity that are always pulsing behind the facade of civilization."- Richard Hugo "Miller Williams writes about ordinary people in the extraordinary moments of their lives. Even more remarkable is how, doing this, he plays perilously close to plain talk without ever falling into it; how close he comes to naked sentiment without yielding to it; how close he moves to being very sure without ever losing the grace of uncertainty. Add to this something altogether apart, that what a good reader can expect to sense, coming to these poems, is a terrible honesty, and we have among us a voice that makes a difference."- John Ciardi
About Miller Williams
Miller Williams, University Professor of English and Foreign Languages at the University of Arkansas and founding director of the University of Arkansas Press, is the author, coauthor, or translator of twenty-eight books, including twelve poetry collections. His honors include the Poets' Prize, the Academy Award for Literature and the Prix de Rome for Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Amy Lowell Award. In 1997 he became only the fourth poet ever to write and deliver a poem for a presidential inauguration, joining the celebrated company of Robert Frost (for John F. Kennedy), James Dickey (for Jimmy Carter), and Maya Angelou (for Bill Clinton's first inauguration.