Miller Williams, 1930-2015


Poet Miller Williams has died at the age of 84. I only knew him as a teacher—he’s the reason I went to the University of Arkansas for my MFA, and I remember my voice shaking as I introduced myself to him in 1999. I’ll always remember him as a kind teacher and a plain-spoken poet who liked to dig into how a poem was written as much as how it ended up. I finished my MFA almost 12 years ago and his work still infects me. I suppose it always will. Last November, I wrote a piece for our Last Poem I Loved series about Miller’s “Let me tell you.” I hope, if there’s an afterlife, he’ll think the lines I wrote about him and his work are good ones. They are not worth the dying.

Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →