William K. Hathaway

Biography of William K. Hathaway

William K. Hathaway (born 1944) is a contemporary American poet who has published eight collections of poetry with Ithaca House, Louisiana State University Press, University of Central Florida Press, Canios Editions, and Chester Creek Press. His most recent book, The Right No, was published in April 2012 by Somondoco Press. He currently resides in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.


Hathaway is perhaps best known for his poem "Oh, Oh," which is included in many college textbooks, including The Bedford Introduction to Literature. His poems have also appeared in several anthologies, including New American Poets of the '90s and Disenchantments: An Anthology of Modern Fairy Tale Poetry. In a jacket blurb for Hathaway's 1992 collection Churlsgrace, poet Hayden Carruth remarked, "when I finish reading a poem by Hathaway I feel smarter than I was before, not, as with most poems, stupider. . . . Hathaway has a rare intelligence, and when he writes he uses it--which is even rarer. May he be showered with blessings."

In a recent interview with Adam Tavel at Poets' Quarterly, Hathaway comments that he considers much of his work to be in the lyrical tradition of Keats and Wordsworth, but that his more sardonic poems "take on a sort of “anti” voice, but with not a consciously subversive intention." Much of Hathaway's early work is written in confessional free verse, as it addresses his struggles with alcoholism that "made a struggle of life," but the central focus of his oeuvre is nature and the rural landscape which remains "ceaselessly poignant."


Hathaway taught for over thirty years at several colleges and universities, including Cornell University, Union College, and Louisiana State University.

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It's now all about money
about which poetry rarely reaches
transcendence. But love must still fester
even under that. Everyone I know
frets if poetry can still matter,
but what about love? It's all become
too much for them, and they're all
on the soma. It makes sense
with these pills when the someone

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