Miller Williams named Poet Laureate of Fayetteville

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Williams reads a portion of his poem, “Compassion” after being named Fayetteville’s Poet Laureate on April 20, 2011.

As part of National Poetry Month, Fayetteville author and award-winning poet Miller Williams, was named as Fayetteville’s Poet Laureate for 2011.

Williams, 81, was honored by Mayor Lioneld Jordan during a “Town & Gown” town hall meeting Wednesday, April 20 on the University of Arkansas campus.

Williams and Mayor Jordan

“Miller is a national poetic treasure, a state treasure and a Fayetteville treasure,” said Jordan, “and today we honor him as an important part of Fayetteville’s creative fabric.”

Williams is a former UA English professor who helped found the University of Arkansas Press, where he served as director for nearly 20 years. He has authored over 25 books and won several awards for his poetry, including the Amy Lowell traveling scholarship (1963), Arts Fund Award (1973), Prix de Rome (1976), and the Poets’ Prize (1990).

In 1997, Williams was selected by President Bill Clinton to read his poem, “Of History and Hope” at Clinton’s second inauguration.

“I don’t know what to say, except thank you,” said Williams before reciting a portion of his poem, “Compassion.”