Thursday, June 12, 2008

Poet of the Month

June's Featured Poet
William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) holds the distinction of probably having the greatest single influence on poets writing in the U.S., attracting a greater following than Yeats or Eliot in the latter half of the 20th Century. He was a close and accurate observer of real life who tried to make language new, disregarding rhyme and meter. A full-time practicing physician who had his feet on the ground, he often wrote of patients, and of flowers and paintings which he loved. Here’s an example of the latter:

The Dance

In Brueghel's great picture, The Kermess,
the dancers go round, they go round and
around, the squeal and the blare and the
tweedle of bagpipes, a bugle and fiddles
tipping their bellies (round as the thick‑
sided glasses whose wash they impound)
their hips and their bellies off balance
to turn them. Kicking and rolling about
the Fair Grounds, swinging their butts, those
shanks must be sound to bear up under such
rollicking measures, prance as they dance
in Brueghel's great picture, The Kermess.

Above: The Kermess by Pieter Brueghel the Elder

Further Reading: Selected Poems, by William Carlos Williams ; edited with an introduction by Charles Tomlinson, 1985, available at our library. The Collected Stories of William Carlos Williams ; introduction by Sherwin B. Nuland, 1996, is also available at our library.

Coming in July: Rita Dove

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson.