Cover image for Making a poem : some thoughts about poetry and the people who write it
Making a poem : some thoughts about poetry and the people who write it
Williams, Miller.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [2006]

Physical Description:
127 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS303 .W44 2006 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



"We need poetry as we need love and company," according to Miller Williams. Making a Poem speaks to us all -- those of us trying to write a first poem, those who have published volumes of poetry, and anyone who cares how the world and language fit together. Distinguished as a poet, a teacher, a scholar, and a publisher, Williams traverses a wealth of topics. He explores poetic techniques of line break, rhythm and meter, and the development of verse forms. In our technological age, he makes clear that poetry is essential to the human soul, showing the connection between scientists and humanists. Williams draws from experience to describe the importance of teaching poetry to prisoners, the value of the university and the small press in fostering poetry, and the relationship between writer and editor. Making a Poem is an intimate, conversational treatise on poetry by a man of letters with decades of practice in both the business and the craft of verse. Readers will take away from this delightful book a deeper appreciation of the poet's art and the vital role poetry can play in their everyday lives.

Author Notes

Miller Williams was born on April 8, 1930 in Hoxie, Arkansas. He received a bachelor's degree in biology from Arkansas State University and a master's degree in zoology at the University of Arkansas. He taught biology at several colleges before getting a job in the Louisiana State University's English Department in 1962. He joined the University of Arkansas' English department in 1970 and remained a professor emeritus until his death.

His first collection of poetry, Et Cetera, was published in 1952. During his lifetime, he wrote over 25 collections of poetry including A Circle of Stone, Halfway from Hoxie, The Boys on Their Bony Mules, Points of Departure, The Ways We Touch: Poems, and Time and the Tilting Earth: Poems. He received the 1991 Poets' Prize for Living on the Surface and the National Arts Award for his lifelong contribution to the arts.

He also worked as a translator and editor and went on to co-found the University of Arkansas Press, which he directed for two decades. He read his poem, Of History and Hope, at President Bill Clinton's second inauguration. He died after years of battling Alzheimer's disease on January 1, 2015 at the age of 84.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Poetry and Poetics
Nobody Plays the Piano, but We Like to Have It in the Housep. 3
Some Observations on the Line in Poetryp. 18
The Revolution That Gave Us Modern Poetry Never Happenedp. 25
Intuition, Spontaneity, Organic Wholeness, and the Redemptive Wilderness: Some Nineteenth-Century Currents in Modern American Poetryp. 35
A Case for Rhyme and Meterp. 49
The Value of Poetry in a Technological Agep. 63
Writing Your Own Poemp. 66
Translatep. 72
The Writer in the World
Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds: The Writer on Campusp. 83
The Writer and the Editorp. 91
Poetry and the Place of Placep. 98
The Scientist and the Humanist: Some Observations on a Misunderstanding between Us and Why It Mattersp. 100
Backstreet Affair: The Writer and the Publisher in the Smoky Bars of Small Imprints and No Advancesp. 116
What Stone Walls Makep. 124