From the publisher: Over the past half century, the great shape-shifting poet C. K. Williams took upon himself the poet’s task: to record with candor and ardor “the burden of being alive.” In Falling Ill, his final volume of poems, he brings this task to its conclusion, bearing witness to a restless mind’s encounter with the brute fact of the body’s decay, the spirit’s erasure.
C.K. Williams (1936–2015) was most recently published in NER 36.1. Falling Ill: Last Poems is Williams’s last book. Written with unsparing lyricism and relentless discursive logic, these brave poems face unflinchingly “the dreadful edge of a precipice” where a futureless future stares back. Urgent, unpunctuated, headlong, vertiginous, they race against time to trace the sinuous, startling twists and turns of consciousness. All is coming apart, taken away, except the brilliant art to describe it as the end is coming. All along is the reassurance of love’s close presence.
Williams published twenty-two books of poetry, including Flesh and Blood, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; Repair, which won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; and The Singing, winner of the National Book Award.
Falling Ill can be purchased from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and other booksellers.
From the publisher: The twelve stories of Sleeping Mask, written in propulsive, fluid prose, introduce readers to remarkable characters. They include a child soldier sent to raid a girls’ boarding school, a Virginia Woolf scholar surviving cancer, a desperate writer living under fascism in a futuristic Latin America, the spirits of recently deceased college students on a tour of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and a middle-aged man transported back to his childhood, where he is led out to sea by his mother’s ghost.
LaSalle’s tantalizing “fictions” are evocative of many of the great innovators of postmodern literature, from Borges to Nabokov, while charting a path entirely their own. Through all of their stylistic pyrotechnics these stories never forsake rich characterization and plotting to probe the deepest parts of the contemporary human condition, such as the nature of erotic desire, the legacy of art and artistry, the power of grief and fear, and the horror of war and violence.
Peter LaSalle is the author of many NER stories, and has published several books of fiction, including The City at Three P.M.: Writing, Reading, and Traveling, Mariposa’s Song, and Tell Borges If You See Him. His short story “He Was Beginning to Wonder” was published in NER 35.3, and “What Can’t Not Happen,” one of Sleeping Mask’s twelve stories, was published in NER 30.3.
Sleeping Mask can be purchased from Bellevue Literary Press and other booksellers.