Portrait of Thomas Merton
Jonathan Williams (1929 - 2008) was an American poet, publisher, essayist and photographer. He was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and educated at St. Albans School, Princeton University, and Black Mountain College, and studied art and design at the Institute of Design in Chicago. In 1951 Williams went to Black Mountain College, where he studied with the poet Charles Olson. Williams subsequently founded the Jargon Society, which has published books on poetry, experimental fiction, photography, and folk art for more than fifty years. Among the press's offerings are works by Charles Olson, Paul Metcalf, Lorine Niedecker, Lou Harrison, Mina Loy, Joel Oppenheimer, Ronald Johnson, James Broughton, Alfred Starr Hamilton and many other works by the American and British avant-garde. He was also a longtime contributing editor of the photography journal Aperture. Williams and his partner of forty years, poet Thomas Meyer (born 1947), lived their summers in Dentdale in the Cumbrian hills of England and their winters at Skywinding Farm on Scaly Mountain, near Highlands, North Carolina. Books of poetry by Williams include An Ear in Bartram's Tree (1969), Blues and Roots/Rue and Bluets (1971), The Loco Logodaedalus in Situ (1972), and Elite/Elate Poems (1979), while his books of photography include Portrait Photographs (1979) and A Palpable Elysium: Portraits of Genius and Solitude (2002).