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I Knew the Bride

Hugo Williams

I Knew the Bride is the straight-talking, self-deprecating and profoundly moving poetry collection from the renowned poet Hugo Williams

Date Published
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Hugo Williams is rightly cherished for his inimitable fusion of autobiography and irony, and a technical glide that allows his writing to ‘slip back to the past as effortlessly as a dreamer’ (The Times).

I Knew the Bride is Williams’ eleventh collection of poems, and his first since West End Final was shortlisted for both the T. S. Eliot and Forward prizes for poetry in 2009. This new volume bears – and lays bare – those qualities that have become so characteristic of his work: his unflinching survey of his childhood and adult life alike, alighting on moments of vivacity from his upbringing in a theatrical family in the 1940s and 50s (the title poem a touching tribute to his late sister) through to the romantic peaks and pains of his adult years. Straight-talking, self-deprecating and funny, these recklessly accountable inspections are set against a Williams-esk miscellany of day-to-day backdrops that readers have come to treasure: of record collections, kitchen sinks, shopping bicycles, hotels, bedrooms. But I Knew the Bride is no mere rehearsal of old lives lived; instead it takes the author and his readers into startling new terrain in a series of brave, painful and profoundly moving poems ‘From the Dialysis Ward’, in which the author records his own ongoing hospital treatment with a fearless vulnerability that makes this collection of poems a courageous and inspiring read.

Critic Reviews

I Knew the Bride is surely Williams's most accomplished and memorable collection to date...It confirms Williams as a poet of profound existential concerns, but one who talks levelly about life, love and death...He is currently one of the best poets we have.

Ben Wilkinson, Guardian
Critic Reviews

The poems are full of sunshine, little moments captured in full light. This book is like a ray of sunshine, in its yellow cover and with its clear, bright emotionally complex poems and I recommend that you read it.

Katy Evans-Bush, Baroque in Hackney Blog
Critic Reviews

For anyone drawn to the quotidian and the underrated sensation of melancholy, Willliams is your only man...These poems make painful reading.

Alan Taylor, The Herald

Hugo Williams was born in 1942 and grew up in Sussex. He worked on the London Magazine from 1961 to 1970, since when he has earned his living as a journalist and travel writer. Billy’s Rain won the T. S. Eliot Prize in 1999. His Collected Poems was published by Faber in 2002 and his last collection, I Knew the…

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