C. K. Williams was born and grew up in and around Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in philosophy and English. He has published a number of books of poetry, including Repair, which was awarded the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, The Singing which won the National Book Award for 2003, and Flesh and Blood, the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Prize in 1987. He has also been awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the PEN Voelker Career Achievement Award in Poetry for 1998; a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA grants, the Berlin Prize of the American Academy in Berlin, a Lila Wallace Fellowship, the Los Angeles Book Prize, and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

He published a memoir, Misgivings, in 2000, which was awarded the PEN Albrand Memoir Award, and has published translations of Sophocles’ Women of Trachis, Euripides’ Bacchae, and poems of Francis Ponge, Adam Zagajewski, as well as versions of the Japanese Haiku poet Issa.

His first book of essays, Poetry and Consciousness, appeared in 1998, and his most recent, In Time, in 2012. He published a book about Walt Whitman, On Whitman, in 2010, and in 2012 a book of poems, Writers Writing Dying. A book of prose poems, All At Once, will be published in 2014.

He recently retired from Princeton University, has served as a chancellor of the American Academy of Poets and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.