John Williams (1922–1994) was born and raised in northeast Texas. Despite a talent for writing and acting, he flunked out of a local junior college after his first year. He reluctantly joined the war effort, enlisting in the Army Air Corps, and managed to write a draft of his first novel. Once home, Williams found a small publisher for the novel and enrolled at the University of Denver, where he was eventually to receive both his BA and MA, and where he was to return as an instructor in 1954andremain on the staff of the creative writing program until his retirement in 1985. During these years, he was an active guest lecturer and writer, editing an anthology of English Renaissance poetry and publishing two volumes of his own poems, as well as three novels, Butcher’s Crossing, Stoner, and the National Book Award–winningAugustus (all published as NYRB Classics). English Renaissance Poetry, edited by Williams, is also available from NYRB Classics.