“An intimate, attentive, smart, and playful collection, ‘RUMHAM’ drops you on a New England back-road and leaves you to navigate the hushed, intricate country however you choose. Williams’ strong voice and hand-picked selection of ever note creates a clean, sharp world for the reader. You’ll make a home in this book.”
-Kaycee Filson, Poet, National Poetry Slam Champion 2013
“Beau Williams’ writing is the pulse of a creaking house. Its sweet veracity is intimate enough to whisper into your collar, but vast enough to shout from the lighthouse. It is an accordion song floating downwind on an empty beach. You can’t help but go find it.”
-Paulie Lipman, Denver Poet, National Poetry Slam Champion 2006
“His work is deceptive, the deep end is the shallow and before you know it, you’re in the dark water, swimming with the sharks… Beau teaches you how to admire their beauty and revel in every last shiver of the danger.”
-Mark Palos, Poet, Organizer of Slam Free or Die
“Beau Williams approaches the page with a stark economy and a keen eye for imagery. He is simultaneously storyteller and surrealist painter, weirdo and the kid with the treehouse down the block. The pictures do the lifting here and they’re a joy to behold.”
– J.W. Basilo, Poet
“Beau Williams writes the way he lives: as though he is running through an airport to stop the person he loves from escaping into the sky. These poems have been drying to be born and now that they are alive, they cannot stop from unabashedly grinning. Here, we find joy in the dark circles under lover’s eyes, joy in the frigid corners of New England, Joy in the way life flinches beneath a starless sky, joy in the promise that yes, you are alive.”
-Carrie Rudzinski, Author of The Shotgun Speaks
“If there is only one thing you take away from the poetry of Beau Williams (and there is more than that), it is how he reminds us that at the root of human being is the verb to be. The subjects of his poems don’t merely exist as set pieces; they actively make themselves a part of the world. In doing so, they make this book a welcome addition to your shelf.”
-Jeff Stumpo, Author of El Oceano y la Serpiente
“Beau Williams is a hurricane in another town; you don’t hear him coming but you have the eerie feeling that he is destroying your ex girlfriend’s house. A melodic storyteller, Williams paints vivid vignettes of travel, heartbreak, and home, all while weaving humor through the core. This book is like watching a porch door swinging on one hinge and you know, in the end, it will break off or it will be mended. With Williams, both outcomes would be satisfactory.”
-Kait Rokowski, Writer, Performer, National Poetry Slam Semi-Finalist
“Beau Williams is a bare-knuckle poet with a taste for top-shelf language. To read his work is to catch glimpses of the wild ride of an artist’s life; snapshots of ecstasy, triumph, pain, and love abound in this collection. His desire for experience and love for the craft has given us one of the best poets I’ve read in a long time; I am very thankful for his words and for his friendship. Let these poems warm your heart; it will make you want to call you best friend, your parents, your lover, your ex… well maybe not your ex… and you will be much better off afterwards.
-Ryan McLellan, Author of Plenty of Blood to Spare
“Beau Williams is a modern bard; not writing for lords and kings, but a storyteller of and for hte village. Beau’s everyday may not be your circumstance, but he opens new portals in village walls; fills frames in the gallery; and raises the roofs of public houses across the land.”
-Billy Tuggle, Performance Poet
Nail Gun and a Love Letter reads like a song. Beau Williams invites our inner adventurer to sing along. Beau gives form and shape to the misty memories of a seasoned traveler. Would that we could all love with such wild abandon and mix joy with sorrow for such a delightful nightcap.”
-Tuia’ana Scanlan, Poet
“This collection of poems (Nail Gun and a Love Letter) alternately pierces the reader with astute and heartbreaking observations (Good Drums is a particularly devastating musing on white, male American-ness) while at the same time using evocative language to spare with and challenge the ideas of belonging and connection and love. These poems invite the reader to contemplate what it means to come from somewhere, and how it feels to long for a place that isn’t home, but could be. They invite us to see the mundane as essential, and to see and celebrate the things that connect us to our identity. The title of this collection is apt; like a nail gun, these poems violently pierce, bud do so in service to building something sturdy and sheltering, and every one is a love letter to the dance that makes us who we are.”
-Sherry Frost, Educator
“Williams’ workshop provides an exciting opportunity for students, creative writers, teachers and alumni. A former high school English teacher, Williams will read and perform poetry, model poetry writing activities, and offer time to write and discuss. Attendees should leave the workshop with useful writing prompts as well as strategies for furthering their own writing, appreciation of the sound and style of poetry, and drafts of their own newly crafted poems.
Students resist poems’ ambiguity; they resist talking through their interpretations; they worry their own poems are “wrong.” Students tend to veer away from poetry because they cannot relate. This workshop, including reading, discussing, and writing poetry, will be helpful for students’ confidence and capability in learning and applying the genre.
Williams’ workshop will celebrate what poet Kay Ryan calls poetry’s “secret irresistibility and staying-power,” linking poetry to the human condition and the beauty of its expression. Williams’ workshop will make poetry–and the humanities generally–relevant to the students and those with whom they share this experience.”
– Laura Smith, Senior Lecturer in English at UNH
“Heralding from Portland, Maine, Beau Williams describes himself as a “fairly optimistic” poet, and what better way to describe his newest collection of poetry from Swimming with Elephants Publications than as “fairly optimistic.” Bittersweet journeys to bar floors and the bottoms of bottles, Nail Gun and a Love Letter is reminiscent of beat poetry days and the pilgrimages we must take to find ourselves.
Whether these pilgrimages occur literally or otherwise, Beau has managed to make an astonishing and beautiful book; these are love letters soaked in liquor, poking nails through your heart only to fill the holes with the sort of honesty that only being three sheets to the wind can bring. This book is better described as a cure for hangovers, best enjoyed with a hot cup of tea (or maybe a hot toddy for those frigid winter nights). Beau is undeniably honest in his descriptions, and there’s something chilly in his work, reminiscent of winter along the Northeast coast, but he always manages to wrap the reader up in warm words. From micropoems like “Sacred Vows” to full length bar hymns like “Looking for Brooklyn in a Shit Bar in Portland,” it’s clear that Beau has an inspired affinity for storytelling based heavily in symbols and setting. This book is a journey.
I first met Beau when he was on his own journey with GUYSLIKEYOU, a poetry collective with Wil Gibson and Ryan McLellan. It was his soft demeanor that caught my attention, allowing a contrast to his occasionally sharp edged poetry. Again, this brings to mind poets like Allen Ginsberg; there is a subtlety in these pages, a sharp as a nail, unforgiving as alcohol sort of sensation. And yet, reading this collection was like having a drink with an old friend. Like coming out of the Maine cold to warmth, at long last. And maybe he’ll burn a bit of you, but he will always wrap you up again with a love letter.
– Maxine Peseke, Swimming with Elephants Press
“You see that earnest looking fellow at the end of the bar with the notebook and the doves in his throat? That kid is going to poem you into giddy. Beau Williams is finding romance in yellow road stripes, in liquid courage, in flight patterns, in coffee grounds, in everything.”
– Rob Sturma, Editor of Aim For The Head
“He’s my favorite poet.”
– My Mom