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'Men & Women of Distinction: Miller Williams' to air on AETN

Posted 05 Jan 2015

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) will rebroadcast "Men & Women of Distinction: Miller Williams" Friday, Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m. in remembrance of Williams, who suffered from Alzheimer's and died Jan. 1 in Fayetteville.

"Miller Williams was one of the most prominent American poets of our time," AETN Executive Producer Carole Adornetto said. "AETN selected him for its 'Men & Women of Distinction' series in 2010, not only for his memorable life as a poet, but also because of his lifetime achievements as a father, husband, mentor, writer and teacher.

"This 30-minute interview captures a part of Miller's life not widely known or seen. It's an intimate portrait of a unique talent whose words will live on for generations."

Williams might be best remembered as the man who delivered the inaugural poem at Bill Clinton's second inauguration. But, in the world of literature, he ranked among the best of American poets.

Williams discovered his calling early in life, writing poetry under the guidance of his mother as a boy. When his academic life brought him into the sciences, he continued his writing and self-published his first book of poetry in 1952.

Attracting the attention of such notable authors as Flannery O'Connor, Williams made the switch from professor of biology to professor of English literature. In the early '70s, Williams accepted a position at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where he cofounded the University of Arkansas Press and the Comparative Literature program; founded the university's MFA program in Literary Translation; and taught and mentored emerging poets, such as Chelsea Rathburn, Leon Stokesberry and R.S. Guinn.

In his life, Williams collected more than 15 awards recognizing his work. Of his most recently published book in 2009, "Time and the Tilting Earth," Joel Brouwer of the New York Times said this: "In poem after poem, he mingles the low and the high in both form and content, bringing a sense of clear-eyed practicality to life's big questions and a keenly-honed poetic technique to the cadences of Arkansas porch talk."

The episode is also featured on the AETN website at aetn.org/millerwilliams.

"Men & Women of Distinction" features interviews with prominent Arkansans known for their citizenship, character and accomplishments. The series has previously featured former governors and U.S. senators David Pryor and Dale Bumpers, as well as former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former governor Sid McMath and Judge Morris Arnold. The series is underwritten by The Moving Image Trust Fund.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).