A Most Marvelous Piece of Luck

There’s an extraordinary amount of wit and wordplay—outrageous puns, fractured homilies, garbled quotations, double entendres—in this short book. A Most Marvelous Piece of Luck recalls those planetarium shows that, in their vertiginous final minutes, whirl the audience through the cosmos. To say that Williamson is one of the three or four contemporary American masters of light verse may be a less grand pronouncement than it sounds, given how few serious poets these days would aspire to the title. Williamson’s rhymes are likewise dexterous, with a number of unexpected combinations and here and there he comes up with something so neatly preposterous that Byron might have been proud to claim it. The book holds up so well, richly repaying rereading, because there’s a somber, eerie iciness at its core.