The Eighth Phrase


by L.B. Williams

The Eighth Phrase (LB Williams) is a chapbook of poetry exploring New York as it existed decades ago. It takes a look at the streets of Queens and other areas, the New York Public Library, revels in the sunken fog outside yellowing windows, the messy bustle of a city teeming with joy, bikes, attic windows, high heels, lusty sunlight, and plastic fruit. It may seem a strange list of items to string together, but this chapbook does it beautifully, painting a portrait of child-life and a sense of place so vivid that you can almost taste the ice cream and night air. (Porkbelly Press, 2015)

24 pages
inkjet cover
open edition

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Windows yellow soaked in sunken fog
Downstairs a woman in a black coat
dark sunglasses leaves food for pigeons.
On white sills they enter.


A few weeks before, he told me, I’m not afraid to die.
I was in World War II, you know what they said then.
If the bullet had your name on it, it was your time to go.
My father filled up the entire coffin.



L.B.WILLIAMS is the author of the memoir Letters to Virginia Woolf (Hamilton Books, 2005), letterstovirginiawoolf.com. She wrote the critical study The Artist as Outsider in the Novels of Toni Morrison and Virginia Woolf (Greenwood Press, 2000). Her poetry has appeared in such publications as Washington SquareThe Mom EggSunrise from Blue Thunder (A Pirene’s Fountain Anthology) and For She is the Tree of Life: Grandmothers Through the Eyes of Women Writers. She has also published a poetry chapbook, Sky Studies, (Finishing Line Press Fall, 2014). She is Professor of Literature at Ramapo College of New Jersey.



This chapbook features a painting by Angie Reed Garner (“Homes for the Displaced,” mixed media, 24 x 48 inches). It includes a hand-cut title flag typed old school style. Angie Reed Garner is a second-generation narrative painter from Kentucky.



review by Mindy Kronenberg via Mom Egg Review
review at Quill & Parchment



Lisa Williams trains her spotlight on the furtive glimpses and flickering moments out of the past, preserving them under shattered glass before they disappear forever. Up close, revelatory, charged with erotic beauty and grace, her poems are like doors opening into a world of disclosure. The Eighth Phrase is a force of nature, a dissolving fabric, a template for making it all real. —Lewis Warsh

L.B. Williams’ poems are full of the delightful particulars of life. The Eighth Phrase is a lovely meditative sequence of scenes: melancholy at the core, and precise in detail and melody. —Lisa Jarnot