Thursday, April 28, 2011

William Carlos Williams Reads and Speaks

How can I allow National Poetry Month go by without offering a poem? Here is a wonderful reading and commentary by one of my favorites, William Carlos Williams.

The first poem WCW reads is "Spring and All":
By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines-

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind-

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined-
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance-Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken
When I was a college lad, I tried my hand at writing a poem in the style of Williams. Red-faced and eyes lowered, I offer it here:
sorry i
bit your
it felt just

like a marshmallow
and saturated
and truly i
so hungry
My perverse streak comes out in this poem about a romantic moment gone wrong. Sonically it's a bit jumbled, but the reasoning of the speaker--that hunger--is disturbingly open.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Larry,
    I run a literary blog (in Dutch) and was wondering if you could help me laying my hands on a poem by WCW in which he talks about the world being symptomlous and why we should want to cure it, no problems and a construction error in the glass doesn't give us the right to talk about god. The quotes are a translation from dutch so they may appear jibberish. Greetings,

    August Tholen (


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