|Poetry in motion|
I shall be celebrating the duality of my heritage by spending this evening with a hotdog in one hand and a bottle of cider in the other, but while I do that, you can entertain yourselves with the work of a poet only America in all its glory could produce: William Carlos Williams.
William Carlos Williams is amazing. Not only is his name a work of startling rhythmical genius, but as a writer he had the sheer naked balls to create a poem that goes, in its entirety:
so much dependsLook at that. That is hilarious. BUT WHAT CAN IT MEAN?
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
To be honest, I don't think it means anything. I studied Modernism at university and when we got to Williams the professor just sat back and said, "Damned if I know what any of this stuff is about."
Williams' poetry also contains one-liners which are, simply put, some of the best I've ever read. There's
It's the sheer simple weirdness of the way Williams puts words together that delights me so much. He's really good at being really strange, and that's made his poems stick in my head for much longer than all those indigestible verses that MEAN THINGS. He's also extremely good at being funny, a vastly underappreciated talent. It is hard to manufacture humour. Some writers even find it difficult to work out what humour actually is (just ask James Joyce.) But I think Williams manages it.
My favourite poem by him is also one of his silliest. It's been parodied endlessly (a sure sign that something's pretty great), and it's just so apt in so many circumstances. It's an ode to everyday life, a perfect description of thousands of tiny household arguments and a how-to guide to not really being sorry.
It goes like this.
This is just to say
I have eaten
This is just to say: I love corn on the cob.
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
Happy fourth of July, world.