A Dreamless Night
The Selected Chinese/English Poems of William Marr
168 Poems ~ Reviews and Comments ~ 258 Pages
Format: 6’’ x 9’’ ~ Perfect Bound
Publisher: Chicago Academic Press
Price: $21.99
ISBN: 9798761154803
To Order: Amazon.com


This is a book about the beauty of words. In poems typically ranging in length of 40 words or less, Bill Marr’s A Dreamless Night treats readers to a smorgasbord of thoughtful poems that not only entertain but inspire to something deeper residing in all of us: “a powerless night / when people suddenly noticed / the existence /of the moon / and stars.”



A master of lyrical layers along with the beauty and brevity of his Chinese heritage, he enhances his skill with the spontaneity and flavor of his adopted American homeland. His humor, insight and tenderness are universal. His control of such ingredients is sure handed.
—Glenna Holloway, founding president of the Illinois State Poetry Society, author of Never Far from Water and Other Love Stories

There are quite a few Chinese writers who live in the U.S. and write poetry in Chinese. But very few of them can write in English and at the same time actively participate in local poetry activities. William Marr, who is well-known across Taiwan, China Mainland, Hong Kong and other places where Chinese is in use, is such a representative figure.
—Philip Hsieh, poet and editor


From so many poems I’ve read, I would pick this one (William Marr’s, "A Snowy Day") as the most direct, pure, colloquial, clear, simple and witty. This is poetry, the best and the truest kind of poetry.
—Lin Heng-Tai, poet and critic

With fewer than 30 words, William Marr was able to pack so many complex meanings into his poem, “Night Flute,” giving full play to the density of modern Chinese word usage. For a linear or sequential essay, it would require at least 100 words.
—Chang Han Liang, professor and critic


His concise yet highly symbolic poetry, with a deep sense of humanity, adds a new dimension to the rich tradition of Chinese poetry … He bridges the gap between new and old, and between East and West.
—Hong Kong Literature Monthly

The distinguishing features of William Marr’s poetry are its simplicity and its ambiguity. He places special emphasis on “the generation of multiplicity from a singularity,” seeking lasting values from simple yet transparent images … He is an explorer in the land of poetry. He is not used to taking the road flattened by the crowd. He writes poetry for the sake of creating a new universe. The keen sense of modernity and the various modern techniques found in his works bring new aesthetical elements to Taiwanese and Chinese poetry and creates a new poetic landscape.
—Jin Qin-Jun, professor and critic


William Marr, born in 1936 in Taiwan, came to America in 1961 as a graduate student and received his PhD degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1969. After working in energy and environmental systems research for many years, he retired in 1996 to devote his full time to writing. He has published over 30 books of poetry in Chinese, English, bilingual (Chinese/English), multilingual (Chinese/English with French and Italian translations) and one with Korean translation. He is a former President of the Illinois State Poetry Society and the holder of two lifetime achievement awards, including one from the Marquis Who’s Who Publications Board. In 2019, he was awarded the 60th Literary Award from Taiwan’s Chinese Literature and Art Association. In recent years, he has also engaged in painting and sculpting and has held several art exhibitions in America and China. In 2016, in celebration of his 80th birthday, his sons, Dennis and Alvin, together with their wives, set up the William Marr Scholarship for Creative Writing in the College of Letters & Science of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Picasso Died this Morning

by William Marr

After frittering away the remaining afternoon
I walk up to the window many times
to see if the sky holds any last surprise

As it hangs over my neighbor’s roof
the sun seems almost
immortal. Picasso died this morning
I wonder what tunes the three musicians
are going to play
which way the dove
is going to fly

Having shown us the world is still
soft and kneadable
the master hands are now withdrawing
I reach out unconsciously
but realizing how childish it must be
I turn my grasping hands to clapping


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