A Review of Disinheritance

by John Sibley Williams

The poetry of John Sibley Williams as exhibited in this brief collection of short verse, Disinheritance, seems to congregate around the theme of a family remembered, often as if spoken by the recently deceased, and most disturbingly around the death of a young child, a son. And though the style of Mr. Williams’ poetry is somewhat open and rather prose-like, one never shakes the totally coherent and consistent understanding that we have become submersed within a poet’s mind — that is, within that strange otherworld of perception, where the material world meets the ethereal, where the particular becomes the universal, and where resonance is often the only force permitting of coherence. The immense difficulty of communicating effectively from this realm is what makes poetry such a fine art to master.

Disinheritance reveals John Sibley Williams to be an artist of the poetic. His style may be prose-like, but one would not mistake his poetry for prose. Mr. Williams is a master of poetic flow. The rhythm of his words takes the reader deep into the poetic realm and never falters. We are never abandoned, and we are never jolted by a rhythmic misstep. As personal as these poems are, they conceal as much as they reveal, and one is left to contemplate the resonance in that. We may, just as well, submerge ourselves into the simple beauty of his words. There is something redemptive in this poetry, but more as a future promise than these frozen but expressive, tragic moments will allow.

“He needs to know if boulders move on their own from the mouth of an empty cave,

how to distinguish love

from grief.”