Stanley Miller Williams
Biography of Stanley Miller Williams
Stanley Miller Williams (April 8, 1930 – January 1, 2015) was an American contemporary poet, as well as a translator and editor. He produced over 25 books and won several awards for his poetry. His accomplishments were chronicled in Arkansas Biography. He is perhaps best known for reading a poem at President Clinton's 1997 inauguration. One of his best-known poems is "The Shrinking Lonesome Sestina."
Williams was born in Hoxie, Arkansas, to Ernest Burdette and Ann Jeanette Miller Williams. He was educated in Arkansas, first enrolling at Hendrix College in Conway and eventually transferring to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, where he published his first collection of poems, Et Cetera, while getting his bachelor's degree in biology. He went on to get a masters in zoology at the University of Arkansas in 1952.
He taught in several universities in various capacities, first as a professor of biology and then of English literature, and in 1970 returned to the University of Arkansas as a member of the English Department and the creative writing program. In 1980 he helped found the University of Arkansas Press, where he served as director for nearly 20 years. At the time of his death, he was a professor emeritus of literature at the University of Arkansas.
Miller received the 1963–64 Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, and he won the 1991 Poets' Prize for his collection Living on the Surface.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton selected Williams to read his poem "Of History and Hope" at Clinton's second inauguration, instantly bringing Williams to national attention. In addition, President Clinton presented Williams with the National Arts Award for his lifelong contribution to the arts.
Stanley Miller Williams Poems
For A Girl I Know About To Be A Woman
Because you'll find how hard it can be to tell which part of your body sings, you never should dally with any young man who does any one of the following things:
If Ever There Was One
She could tell he loved her. He wanted her there sitting in the front pew when he preached. He liked to watch her putting up her hair
Of History And Hope
We have memorized America, how it was born and who we have been and where. In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
A Tenth Anniversary Photograph, 1952
Look at their faces. You know it all. They married the week he left for the war. Both are gentle, intelligent people,
June Twenty, Three Days After
When I was a boy and a man would die we'd say a verse when the hearse went by one car two car three car four
No matter how she tilts her head to hear she sees the irritation in their eyes. She knows how they can read a small rejection,
We thought it would come, we thought the Germans would come, were almost certain they would. I was thirty-two, the youngest assistant curator in the country.
Love Poem With Toast
Some of what we do, we do to make things happen, the alarm to wake us up, the coffee to perc, the car to start.
Love Poem With Toast
Some of what we do, we do
to make things happen,
the alarm to wake us up, the coffee to perc,
the car to start.
The rest of what we do, we do
trying to keep something from doing something,
the skin from aging, the hoe from rusting,
the truth from getting out.