In Memoriam: Tyrone Williams (1954–2024)

We at Jacket2 regretfully share the news that beloved poet and critic Tyrone Williams passed away on Monday, March 11, at the age of 70. The author of numerous books, including c.c. (2002), On Spec (2008), The Hero Project of the Century (2009), Adventures of Pi (2011), Howell (2011), As Iz (2018), and washpark (with Pat Clifford, 2021), Williams had recently joined the SUNY-Buffalo faculty as David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters after a long teaching career at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Charles Bernstein, shown with Williams below, noted that both had the honor of leading the Buffalo Poetics Program as the David Gray Professor and offered this lament: The pleasure of his company now so painfully the pleasure of his memory.


Al Filreis shared this remembrance: Now Tyrone Williams is gone. What an awful loss. We had a wonderful productive run of annual gatherings at the Writers House: Aldon Lynn NielsenBilly Joe Harris, Tyrone, and me — and always a special invited guest poet to join us. He concluded, Ill never forget Tyrones honest, wise contributions to these discussions. An episode of PoemTalk that Williams recorded at the Writers House in November 2023 will be released later this year.

You can find many podcasts featuring Williams on his PennSound author page, along with a wide array of recordings from 2006 to the present. Jacket2 and PennSound editor Michael S. Hennessey said, One of my favorite recordings is Tyrones brief intro set to a reading by Sueyeun Juliette Lee, whom he'd invited to Xavier University. It was early evening at the end of the semester, with an enthusiastic audience crowded into a classroom on a high floor, the sunset seeping in through the windows. As tired as I was that late in the semester, the experience was sublime. Not knowing about his illness, I had just reached out to Tyrone recently, with hopes that hed be involved in a PennSound project that I was putting together, and had hoped I would see him at the upcoming Louisville Conference. Certainly, our city was already lessened by Tyrones departure, but now the whole world knows that feeling just as well.