Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Hints and Allegations

The World (In Poetry and Prose) According to William M. Kunstler

by William Kunstler


Foreword by Allen Ginsberg

As with most things William Kunstler does, the poems in this collection rattle the foundations of venerable American institutions—in this case our poetry canon and our entrenched notion that institutionalized racism is a thing of the past. His blending of high seriousness of purpose with lightheartedness of tone appears effortless and masterful. This is not ivory tower stuff. It is experience lived as fully as possible and only then recast in lyric form. Kunstler knew most of the people he writes about. A good number of those who live on in these pages had him as their only defender, some kept out of prison, others from the electric chair.

In many ways, Hints and Allegations is Kunstler's true autobiography. Reading the sonnet and accompanying prose paragraph on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for example, we learn all we need to know about the bond between Kunstler and the younger clergyman, and the seven years they worked together. And from the sonnet and commentary on Morton Stavis we grasp how deeply Kunstler feels the calling of his profession, by his anguish at the loss of his attorney friend who had for many years defended him in the courts.

There is nothing rarer than a man who has lived a long life in the public eye fighting for social justice. We live in a society which constantly assures us that questions of social justice are too complex to be dealt with by mere citizens, but are instead the exclusive domain of legislative bodies or nonprofit foundations. Yet every word in this small book forcefully refutes that falsehood. In the courts and in the poems, Kunstler fights on.


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“Throughout his epic and courageous career—from the Chicago 8 trial to the World Trade Center bombing—civil rights attorney Kuntsler has documented his struggle against injustice in surprisingly effective poems. Here are his sonnets, each accompanied by history of the event that onspired to poem. A remarkable and valuable book from a great and contentious American.”


Attorney WILLIAM M. KUNSTLER (1919–1995) was the cofounder of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the author of more than a dozen books. He served as the special trial counsel to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 1962 to 1968, as well as the defense attorney for the Chicago Seven. He is the author of Hints and Allegations.