Michigan University Press
ISBN 978-0870136429
2002|  Poetry

Read and listen to selected poems from this collection

Crystal Williams’ new collection, Lunatic, courageously roots out the underbelly of the human condition with humor, irony, and unflinching directness. Williams confronts large-scale social and cultural events such as September 11, the death of Amadou Diallo, and the Chicago Race Riots in addition to exploring the often paralyzing terrain of loss, desire, and displacement. Among its most common themes is personal responsibility. The interpretation of personal narratives affects not only the self, Williams insists, but reverberates with epic consequences in the wider world. Pointing to James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Williams questions the dark side of human experience with clarity, compassion, and even laughter. Ultimately, Lunatic explores how the public and private converge and how we can each reach, boldly, for reconciliation.

"Crystal Williams's Lunatic is a bombshell of a book. Don't let the title fool you—these poems are brave, wise, and incredibly sane. Williams' power is that she says, directly and beautifully, what she needs to say and what we, her readers, need to hear." – Denise Duhamel

"To say that Williams is a powerhouse of a poet is an incredible understatement…" – Tracey Calhoun