Friday, November 28, 2014

The Descent of Winter: 11/28

     I make very little money.
     What of it?
     I prefer the grass with the rain on it
     the short grass before my headlights
     when I am turning the car——
     a degenerate trait, no doubt.
     It would ruin England.




  1. Replies
    1. Me too! I never read poetry collections linearly; this was one of the poems I marked while flipping through the book early on.

      Actually, I'd never read the Descent of Winter as thoroughly as now; if I had, I might actually have decided against transcribing and posting it. It's a really clunky and asymmetrical piece—but I suppose most anyone's personal diary (or blog, nowadays) would appear clunky and asymmetrical if presented as a collection of poems and essays.

      What's interesting to me is the pivot away from the focus Williams initially intended (love, homecoming, changing seasons) to a series of meditations about—let's call it American poetry, or even democratic poetry. A counterpoint to the Europeanism and (somewhat elitist) abstrusity of his fellow modernists T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Williams is thinking hard about art about and for places below the ivory tower, the poetry and drama of the commonplace. Vivid, vitalized, accessible.

      A proof of the eventual victory of this ethos, I think, is the fact that almost twenty years later, Williams wrote the introduction to a little book of poetry called Howl and Other Poems by a guy named Ginsberg.