Originally from Nashville, Lisa Williams teaches at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. She is the author of Woman Reading to the Sea (W.W. Norton 2008), which won the Barnard Women Poets Prize, and The Hammered Dulcimer (Utah State University Press, 1998), which won the May Swenson Poetry Award. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Blackbird, Poetry, The Oxford American, and other magazines, and have been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, as well as in anthologies including Best American Poetry 2009, Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds, and American Poetry: Next Generation. Her essays on contemporary women poets have appeared in The Hollins Critic, The Cincinnati Review, and on Poetry Daily. Williams is the recipient of a 2011 Brown Foundation Fellowship awarded by the Brown Foundation and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; a 2010 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship awarded by the Kentucky Arts Council; and a 2004 Rome Prize in Literature, awarded by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Gazelle in the House
Gazelle in the House
A Green Rose Book
Lisa Williams’s new collection, Gazelle in the House, is truly a book of stanzas: poetic rooms in which to dwell. Some of these dwellings have the uncanny familiarity of ordinary domestic space and others are as mysterious and disorienting as the depths of the sea. Painting with colors at times opaque, at times transparent, moving between shallows, tide-pools, and the abysses of dreams, Williams's voice is solitary, meditative, intimate—and in the end a means of revelation.
Like the photographer who “wants that dialogue between a singer’s gesture and what slants it,” Lisa Williams elegantly slants the space between sight and sound in her striking third collection. She plumbs the worlds of eels and deep sea bells as deftly as she conjures unsparing snapshots of female adolescence.
“Go / become again a threshold,” commands one of the speakers in Lisa Williams’ newest collection, Gazelle in the House. Williams’ poems consistently compel the reader to become a door; to pass through the most difficult of emotional landscapes. This collection asks us to traverse a burning landscape and to come out on the other side singed brighter and better. Williams moves us through this landscape with an intellectual and aesthetic rigor.
Praise for Lisa Williams:
"Lisa Williams's poems often start out in song and end in epistemology, but they frequently break out into a kind of humming in the course of walking their self-generated routes. They manifest a fine ear not only for the rhythms of verse in English, but for those of the argument that makes them . . . They extend a line of powerfully and actively contemplative poetry that marks some of the finest American verse of the twentieth century."
"In Woman Reading to the Sea, Lisa Williams brings us a poetry of intense observation yoked with equal force to celebration and cerebration. . . .With restless energy, she arrays a rhetoric that allows her to enter into intense and transformative engagement with the world, regaling her readers with myths and cosmologies, tales of icebergs, tidal pools, and churches."
"Williams will merit, and reward, the attention of discerning readers."