In his first book of poetry since Repair, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2000, C. K. Williams treats the characteristic subjects of a poets maturity the loss of friends, the love of grandchildren, the receding memories of childhood, the baffling illogic of current events with an intensity and drive that recall not only his recent work but also his early books, published forty years ago.
He gazes at a Rembrandt self-portrait, and from it fashions a self-portrait of his own. He ponders an anatomical effigy at the Museum of Mankind, and in so doing dissects our common humanity. Stoking a fire at a house in the country, he recalls a friend who was burned horribly in war, and then turns, with eloquence and authority, to contemporary life during wartime, asking how those with power over us can effect such things, and by what cynical reasoning pardon themselves.
The Singing is a direct and resonant book tough, searching, heartfelt, permanent. Finalist for the 2003 National Book Award, Poetry