Emmett Williams

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Emmett Williams (4 April 1925 – 14 February 2007) was an American poet and visual artist. Married to British visual artist Ann Nöel.

Williams was born in Greenville, South Carolina, and grew up in Virginia, and lived in Europe from 1949 to 1966. Williams studied poetry with John Crowe Ransom at Kenyon College, studied anthropology at the University of Paris, and worked as an assistant to the ethnologist Paul Radin in Switzerland.

As an artist and poet, Emmett Williams collaborated with Daniel Spoerri and German poet Claus Bremer in the Darmstadt circle of concrete poetry from 1957 to 1959. In the 1960s, Williams was the European coordinator of Fluxus, and a founding member of the Domaine Poetique in Paris, France. Williams was friends with Václav Havel during his dissendent years and translated some of Havel's work into English. Williams was a guest artist in residence teaching at Mount Holyoke College from Sept. 1975 to June 1976.

His theater essays have appeared in Das Neue Forum, Berner Blatter, Ulmer Theater, and other European magazines. Williams translated and reanecdoted Daniel Spoerri's Topographie Anecdotee du Hasard (An Anecdoted Topography of Chance), collaborated with Claes Oldenburg on Store Days, and edited An Anthology of Concrete Poetry, all published by the Something Else Press (owned and managed by fellow Fluxus artist Dick Higgins in New York and Vermont). From the mid-1960s through the early 1970s Emmett Williams was Editor in Chief of the Something Else Press.

In 1991, Williams published an autobiography, My Life in Fluxus -- And Vice Versa, published by Edition Hansjörg Mayer, Stuttgart, and reprinted the next year by Thames and Hudson.

In 1996, he was honoured for his life work with the Hannah-Höch-Preis. He died in Berlin in 2007.

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