William Carlos Williams Disappointed Me

9780811218917I’ve had this copy of Spring and  All for some time. Well over a year. I bought it at the Strand Bookstore in NYC in January of 2013. I think. Whenever it was that I was NYC in the month of January. And I just got around to reading it on my recent trip to Thailand.

It’s a lovely edition, with a lovely tactile cover that you just love to touch, but the test of a book of poetry is not whether the book feels cool and relaxing on the cheek, but whether the poetry reads well.

Look, I know that WCW can write a poem. I’m not saying he can’t, but he’s just out of his depth here.

He’s trying to respond to continental style high modernism and he tries to use some of their tools in the prose poems that make up most of the book and which operate as a kind of manifesto, but he’s just not cut out of it. He tries to beat them at their own game and comes up short.

On the plus side, while trying to talk a young relative about poetry, I was able to open this book up to that ‘red wheelbarrow’ poem that you were probably forced to read in high school and use it as an example of how poetry doesn’t have to be hard and that it can be easy to read while still saying a great deal.

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