You Know Who You Are

You Know Who You Are

Ian Williams
  • $17.00

April 2010
80 pages | ISBN 978-1-894987-41-7

You Know Who You Are is a debut collection from an accomplished new poet. It addresses the crisis of young black masculinity in cities, flirting with language that is street savvy and involves the reader in the creation and application of stereotypes. This is a lively, creative collection, spiked with unexpected humour and laced through with a poetic playfulness that gives its difficult subject matter an unexpected sparkle.


NewPages Book Reviews (Sima Rabinowitz,, 1/5/2011)
“If you’re asking who is Ian Williams, … I can tell you that his work is inventive and clever.… I can tell you that I think Ian Williams probably knows who he is: a poet who can get you (you!) to pay attention to what he has to say.”

New Issues Poetry & Prose (Naomi Benaron, Poets' Quarterly, 1/1/2011)
“Williams’ hand reaches out from these pages and pulls, pulls, pulls the heart by its truest beat. He drags us to the mirror and makes us look unflinchingly at who we are. And in the end, he allows us to love ourselves.”

You Know Who You Are (Patricia Anne McGoldrick, Chapter and Verse, 11/23/2010)
“Ian Williams’ poetry collection is not a light read. Images and connections that he makes in his words stand out, visually, like the one fiery-toned cube on the front cover of his book.”

Review: Ian Williams - You Know Who You Are (Jessica Rose, H Mag, 11/4/2010)
“Williams’ ability to easily transition between scenes of gloom and pessimism to scenes of hope, makes You Know Who You Are a diverse collection, rooted in authenticity and powerful words.”

Review (Telegraph-Journal, 7/10/2010)
“Rather than whimsy, Williams uses humour and play like the best comics to address difficult contemporary issues such as race, relationships or the 21st century. Like all intriguing new voices, he excels at giving you not what you want, but what you need.”

Suddenly Everywhere (Victor D. Infante, The Worcester Telegram and Gazette, 4/22/2010)
“Williams is an incisive writer, with a singular voice and perspective.”

Review of You Know Who You Are (Shane Neilson, Quill and Quire, 4/1/2010)
“The collection includes both traditional forms and poems that abandon tradition: there is a successful villanelle, haiku, and a triolet; there’s also some typographical trickery and conceptual poetry.”

It's the little things (Rose Gorman, Paste, 4/1/2010)
“With the threat of the Terminator's laser-red eye in "Notwithstanding" and the intricate science of ramen noodle preparation in "Open," he keeps readers engaged in his dialogue on young black masculinity.”


Need something to read while you isolate? Here are 73 Canadian short stories available free online (Kevin Hardcastle, CBC Books15/05/2020)
Ian's short story "I Want It All, I Want It Now" is listed as one of 73 Canadian short stories available free online.


Ian Williams.pdf
Check out a preview of You Know Who You Are by Ian Williams.

About the Author

Ian Williams received his PhD from the University of Toronto and is currently a Professor at Fitchburg State College. He has held multiple fellowships and residencies and his writing has been in many journals across Canada and the US. Williams has a collection of short stories forthcoming from Freehand Books in 2011. He divides his time between Ontario and Massachusetts.

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