Publication Date
Publication Status
Out of print
Salt Modern Poets
Poetry by individual poets
Trim Size
178 x 110mm

Pistol Sonnets


The hartley flyby nucleus is small, a long axis spinning 2 kilometer jets of dust and gas – an impressively active surface. Sunlight on nucleus of rough areas stretching to implosions on the elongated nucleus join the variables of its Epoxi Mission using re-usable Deep Impact scrap technology. Look back 700 kilometres, observe tune burps register nil variband mission divinology over a wide eschatology of schism. Sculptures of sexo-time employ lunar nipple graphs to register smurf-chasms emancipated by long-tailed projectiles. Fine booze results are calibrated with mugs. Big 108 Pages Don't Take Less.

Praise for this Book

‘J.H.W. doesn't know how to write a poem that isn't intelligent, audacious and fresh, and he brings all three traits, plus a suave mastery of form, to these Pistol Sonnets.’ —August Kleinzahler

Reviews of this Book

‘If there’s been something missing in your life since William Burroughs went to the great needle exchange in the sky, then perhaps John Hartley Williams is the author for you.’ —The Sunday Herald

‘Language in Williams is explored and kicked about and generally dragged through the mud … And I kind of liked that.’ —Ken Smith

‘Williams grabs our attention instantly with his humour, his outlandish gifts for imagery … and his narrative skills. Who else would dare to corrupt Keats’ Ode to Autumn: Season of yellow sputum, missed cabs and recklessness’ —Richard Tyrell

Pistol Sonnets … a continuous adoption and shedding of identities – actor, lover, troubadour, interloper, movie private eye – in the service of language…Even at their maddest the poems retain an unexpected civility and hospitality, which contributes to the growing sense that Williams is an original whose now substantial body of work deserves to be widely enjoyed.’ —Sean O’Brien

Pistol Sonnets … are a revelation. In their rapid fire shifts of tone and register, their loose, conversational tumble of line upon line, their crackling insouciance, they are less like (Kenneth) Koch and more like a heterosexual vesrion of Frank O’Hara. (Williams’s) poems are marvellously unEnglish and more than a little mad in a way that is wholly to be encouraged.’ —Andrew Johnston

‘John Hartley Williams is the lord of misrule come to rage through the tranquil groves of English poetry, he is Holofernes re-cast as Feste, through him the gale of linguistic, rhythmic inventiveness blows high.’ —John Lucas