“Willard’s poems articulate… 
the genuine pitch of what it means to be fully alive.”

-Afaa Michael Weaver


Bruce Willard is an American poet. His poems have appeared in “Poet Lore.” “African American Review,” “Agni Online,” NPR’s “Writer’s Almanac”, “Harvard Review,” “Ploughshares”,  “Salamander,”   “5 A.M.” and numerous other publications. His first collection of poems, Holding Ground, was published by Four Way Books (NYC) in 2013. Violent Blues, his second book was published by Four Way Books in 2016. His third book, Bond, is forthcoming.


Violent Blues

“Willard plays the notes in-between – the awakenings, loves and losses…of sending and receiving – perhaps like Thelonius Monk’s fractured piano… I am struck by the sincerity of the voice here, the relentless set of mind-heart puzzles, the tender, wisdom-lit aloneness in this collection…This is a rare gift, a magnificent wave of poems that will move with you forever.”

- Juan Felipe Herrera
U.S. Poet Laureate



“Willard writes with balanced – and earned – accuracy from the heart of his experience. The natural world is a powerful real presence that, through its resistances, as well as its vexing beauty, marks the outward reach of inwardness. The poems are clear windows on the defining scenes of inwardness: love, separation, family and coming to terms with pain and joy”.

-Sven Birkerts


I want to be heard, not seen,

the voice late night on FM between sets,

the blues which sounds hollow and full,

a fog horn in the fog at noon.


I want to be read slowly, out loud,

heard like wind, close, but from some distance.

A footfall which says, I’m coming to an uncarpeted hall,

a word which says, I’m here to the dark.