C. K. Williams, whose morally impassioned poems addressing war, poverty and climate change, as well as the imponderable mysteries of the psyche, won him a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, died on Sunday at his home in Hopewell. N.J. He was 78.
The cause was multiple myeloma, his wife, Catherine Mauger Williams, said.
Mr. Williams first made his mark in the late 1960s with short poems that addressed, in quick, jolting lines, the torments of love and politics. His verse could be, by turns, intensely personal, or public-spirited, taking on the Vietnam War and a long list of social injustices, expressed in hot language. “This is fresh meat right mr nixon?” begins one of his best-known poems, “In the Heart of the Beast,” a response to the fatal shootings of student demonstrators at Kent State University in 1970.