Saturday, August 05, 2006

WCW - Not an Imagist!

When I hear the name of William Carlos Williams, I immediately think of the red wheelbarrow, and the wonderful little poem of cat feet, and I consider him an ace of minimalist writing, and a star in the Imagist movement.

Imagine my surprise to read that the writer dissociated himself from that school. Williams, the medical doctor-poet-writer whose father was American and his mother from Puerto Rico, aligned himself with the Modernists.

His reasoning included political disagreement as well as poetic. Williams was a hard left guy, and Pound, who is always the next breath in Imagism, did not bury his antisemitism under allusion, and Elliott cast himself into some kind European decadence with all the heady allusions in the Waste Land.

Williams was a down home guy. Searching for the American voice in meter makes his alliance even clearer. I hesitate to leave unsaid the inference that he was an isolationist. I don't know that this was the case. Williams was a man of the masses, and had he lived in The Netherlands or Austria, he likely have the same affiliation. It was about identification and value. Not culture and country.

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