An attorney in Burlington, Vermont, Norman Williams earned a BA from the University of Colorado in 1974 and a JD from Yale University in 1979. He is the author of the poetry collections The Unlovely Child: Poems (1985) and One Unblinking Eye (2003). He has received an Ingram Merrill Fellowship, an Amy Lowell Fellowship, and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Unlovely Child won the I.B. Lavan Award. Poet Anthony Hecht, who chose the volume for the prize, praised the voice in the poems as “marvelously modulated, low-keyed in its acceptances, modest in its exultations, steady and unintoxicated in its long vision.”
Because of Williams’s attention to metrical forms and residence in Vermont, reviewers have compared his work to Robert Frost. While his poems at times feature cold landscapes and impoverished, determined characters, the critic Gilbert Wesley Purdy noted that “One Unblinking Eye manages to be both cosmopolitan and securely anchored in everyday life. Its poems are located in Spain, the West Indies, Russia, Ireland, Vermont and the greater U.S.; they are peopled throughout by common men and women.”
In addition to poetry and legal articles, Williams has published literary criticism and book reviews. He has appeared before the Supreme Court several times.