“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
“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
“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
“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