Monday, August 12, 2013

BEFORE RED WHEELBARROW ~








"The practical point would be to discover — "
WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS





XXI


one day in Paradise

a Gipsy



smiled

to see the blandness



of the leaves —

so many



so lascivious

and still


William Carlos Williams



________________________________


This is the poem that comes before "XXII" the now famous "so much depends / upon // a red wheel /
barrow..." getting to those "white chickens." Published first in 1923 in Spring and All and printed by the same hands (Maurice Darantière) that had printed Ulysses the year before — and released by Robert McAlmon's Contact Publishing Company (Paris) — issued in an edition of 300 copies, where most went undistributed. The Williams book was released the same year as Wallace Steven's Harmonium, Mina Loy's Lunar Baedecker and Jean Toomer's Cane. It was a year before Franz Kafka would pass away. All these giant rocks tumbling.



 



I love both my New Directions and Frontier Press editions of the Williams masterpiece — with one of the finest poetry book titles, ever.










"I can go no further than to say that poetry feels
the imagination and prose the emotions, poetry
liberates the words from their emotional implications,
prose confirms them in it. Both move centrifugally
or centripetally toward the intelligence."
WCW (1923)





No comments: