John Sibley Williams


John Sibley Williams is the author of Scale Model of a Country at Dawn (Cider Press Review Book Award, 2021), The Drowning House (Elixir Press Poetry Award, 2021),  As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize, 2019), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize, University of Nebraska Press, 2019), Summon (JuxtaProse Chapbook Prize, 2019),  Disinheritance, and Controlled Hallucinations. He has also served as editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies, Alive at the Center (Ooligan Press, 2013) and Motionless from the Iron Bridge (barebones books, 2013). A twenty-six-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Laux/Millar Prize, Wabash Prize, Philip Booth Award, Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Phyllis Smart-Young Prize, The 46er Prize, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors' Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Vallum Award for Poetry. Previous publishing credits include: Best American Poetry, Yale Review, Midwest Quarterly, Southern Review, Colorado Review, Sycamore Review, Prairie Schooner, Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, Saranac Review, Atlanta Review, TriQuarterly, Columbia Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, and various anthologies.  John holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rivier University and an MA in Book Publishing from Portland State University. He is the founder and head teacher of Caesura Poetry Workshop, a virtual workshop series, and serves as co-founder and editor of The Inflectionist Review. He also works as a poetry editor and book coach. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his partner and boisterous young twins, Kaiya and Addy. Source

As It Is on Earth

It’s like that sometimes. A man bends

so completely he begins believing in

his own holiness. An empty house

kids are too scared to vandalize sees itself

in time as haunted. Even the moon

our dogs wail to each night as if in prayer

fears a response is expected. The war

my brother brought home & the home he

pined for in war converge in an unruly

absence. Is it finally fair to say like gods

we make images to pour ourselves into?

Like rivers, how they tend to move

farther from the source? What skin

remembers & the mind reimagines:


between them a truth serrated as light.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Body & Body Image


Poems of the Everyday

Literary Devices:


the usage of words in a clause that are repeated in reverse order


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”