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FEATURED POET
No Island Is an Island, & So Forth
by John Sibley Williams

Sign  your name  to ruined  Civil  War
forts.  Next  time, use a Sharpie when
listing  your demands to god.  Instead
of  touching  forehead to ground as  if
in  supplication/ecstasy/grief,  set  fire
to  the old  battlefield  &  let  the winds
unsever your  strings  to  the  past.  In
dust  &  degrees,  redraw  boundaries.
This is  what happened  &  this  might
be  what  we let happen again.  When
writing  your  obituary,  make  sure  to
leave  some  space  for  grandfather's
casual  racism.   Keep  stringing  your
old tennis  shoes  over  power  lines &
don't  heed  the  complaints  of  crows.
Testify   against   earth   &   sky  alike.
Lost  luminosity  is  a   gift.    Like tele-
vised  violence.   Like  tectonic  plates
scraping  together,   birthing   islands.
No island  is an island;  no body just a
body,  &  so  forth.   When  the  South
rises again, carry  your father with the
rebel  flag  tattoo   to   the   window  to
watch  the  burning.    Let   the   world
laugh  at  itself.  Break  from  tradition.
To  men who  want   &  want   &  want,
admit  you've  tried so hard  not  to be
one of them.



SOURCE: As One Fire Consumes Another
by John Sibley Williams, Orison Books, North
Carolina, USA, 2019.

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Poetry Corner

ARCHIVES
FEATURED POETS

BRAZIL

CARIBBEAN
GUYANA

UNITED STATES
JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS is
an award-winning American
poet, educator, and literary
agent born in 1978 in
Massachusetts. In 2003, he
earned his bachelor's degree
at the University at Albany in
New York. Then, in 2005, he
received a master of fine arts
in Creative Writing from
Rivier University in New
Hampshire.

Williams moved to Portland,
Oregon, in 2009, where he
earned a master of arts in
Book Publishing from
Portland State University. He
teaches poetry for Literary
Arts as part of their Writers in
the Schools program. He is
also the poetry editor and
mentor for The Poetry Barn
and WriteByNight.

In 2013, Williams and fellow
poet A. Molotkov started
The
Inflectionist Review
, an
international poetry and art
magazine.

Williams' books of poetry
include:
~ As One Fire Consumes
Another
(2019), awarded the
2018 Orison Poetry Prize;
~ Skin Memory (2019),
awarded the 2019
Backwaters Prize;
~ Disinheritance (2016); and
~ Controlled Hallucinations
(2013).

A twenty-six-time Pushcart
nominee, Williams has won
numerous literary awards,
including the Laux/Millar
Prize, the Philip Booth
Award, the
American Literary
Review
Poetry Contest, the
Phyllis Smart-Young Prize,
the Nancy D. Hargrove
Editors' Prize, the
Confrontation Poetry Prize,
and the
Vallum Award for
Poetry. His poetry has
appeared in over 500
journals and various
anthologies.

He lives in Portland, Oregon,
with his partner and twin
toddlers.

There’s a reason “keep writing, keep reading” has become
clichéd advice; it’s absolutely true. You need to study as many
books as possible from authors of various genres and from
various cultures. Listen to their voices. Watch how they
manipulate and celebrate language. Delve deep into their
themes and structures and take notes on the stylistic and
linguistic tools they employ. And never, ever stop writing.
Write every free moment you have. Bring a notebook and pen
everywhere you go (and I mean everywhere). It’s okay if
you’re only taking notes. Notes are critical. It’s okay if that
first book doesn’t find a publisher. There will be more books to
come. And it’s okay if those first poems aren’t all that great.
You have a lifetime to grow as a writer.
~ JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS ON ADVICE TO A YOUNG ASPIRING POET IN
INTERVIEW WITH PHIL TREAGUS, THE READING LISTS, 2019.

[T]he poems in “As One Fire Consumes Another,” seeks to
position poetry as a means to create dialogue about cultural
silences, marginalized communities, societal gender
expectations, and my own inherent privilege. The themes in
these poems were emotionally demanding for me to write. I
found myself questioning not just my country, culture and
history but nearly everything that defines me. I struggled to
faithfully explore the extent of my personal privilege as a
white, CIS, able-bodied male whose labors and strains are so
trifling compared to others. I struggled when writing about my
family, especially when interrogating my lineage. I wanted to
stare guilt and complicity square in the eye.
~ JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS IN INTERVIEW WITH JEANNE HUFF, IDAHO
PRESS, 21 JULY 2019.

AS ONE FIRE
CONSUMES ANOTHER

JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS

ORISON BOOKS
NORTH CAROLINA/USA
2019
American Poet John Sibley Williams