Stanley Miller Williams

(1930 - 2015 / Hoxie, Arkansas)

Biography of Stanley Miller Williams

Stanley Miller Williams poet

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."

Early life

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.

Career

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.

Poetry

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.

PoemHunter.com Updates

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.

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