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Poetry and Consciousness brings together C. K. Williams's meditations on psychology, an epistemology of poems, considerations of poetry and its relations to history and to the novel, exploring the causes and consequences of that fruitful breakdown of language the author calls "narrative dysfunction." A former Guggenheim fellow, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and noted critic, Williams reveals the influences that helped spur and shape the development of his art.
The essays explore the world of poetry and of poets, tracing the curious forces that generate the deeply rooted but richly unfamiliar languages of verse. Williams addresses a broad audience, justifying poetry as a form of embodied consciousness that helps us situate ourselves in history, a concrete form of opportunity and responsibility. The essays examine the very structure of consciousness and suggest tools for living that enable both writers and readers to approach their own situated selves as well as other selves and other poets.
C. K. Williams has authored ten books of poetry, including Flesh and Blood, A Dream of Mind, and The Vigil. He currently teaches in the Writing Program at Princeton University.