The Poetry of William Carlos Williams of Rutherford (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Reading Wendell Berry’s book on William Carlos Williams in the spring of 2020, following the death of George Floyd, I was struck by the many ways in which the practical, ethical, and aesthetic dimensions of a poet’s “local commitment” — Berry’s to his native, Kentucky farmland and Williams’s to his native, New Jersey industrial landscape — parallel those of a reader as she learns to interpret the works she reads. The tools poets use to place themselves imaginatively, and therefore effectively, in their lives are the tools readers use to do the same. If one is interested in the relation between art and politics, Berry’s book is the place to begin.

— From Graham

Description


A “superb study” that “reminds us that Williams remains our contemporary not only for the lively cadences and fresh imagery that animate his poems, but for the ethical imperative of his example” (The Sewanee Review).

Acclaimed essayist and poet Wendell Berry was born and has always lived in a provincial part of the country without an established literary culture. In an effort to adapt his poetry to his place of Henry County, Kentucky, Berry discovered an enduringly useful example in the work of William Carlos Williams. In Williams’ commitment to his place of Rutherford, New Jersey, Berry found an inspiration that inevitably influenced the direction of his own writing.

Both men would go on to establish themselves as respected American poets, and here Berry sets forth his understanding of that evolution for Williams, who in the course of his local membership and service, became a poet indispensable to us all.

“Generously quoting many of Williams’ best lines . . . Berry produces a work of aesthetics more than evaluation, of love more than critique.” —Booklist

About the Author


Wendell Berry is the author of fifty books of poetry, fiction, and essays. He was recently awarded the Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Louis Bromfield Society Award. For over forty years he has lived and farmed with his wife, Tanya, in Kentucky.

Praise For…


Praise for The Poetry of William Carlos Williams

"Generously quoting many of Williams' best lines, tenderly confessing when he doesn't understand Williams (e.g., Williams' elusive "variable foot"), and referring to his own life and work to clarify what he thinks about Williams, Berry produces a work of aesthetics more than evaluation, of love more than critique." —Booklist

"Berry's superb study reminds us that Williams remains our contemporary not only for the lively cadences and fresh imagery that animate his poems, but for the ethical imperative of his example: to know ourselves as creatures of a particular place and, through that grounded knowledge, to develop the arts that will enable us to live in it over the long haul." —The Sewanee Review


Praise for Wendell Berry

"Generously quoting many of Williams' best lines, tenderly confessing when he doesn't understand Williams (e.g., Williams' elusive "variable foot"), and referring to his own life and work to clarify what he thinks about Williams, Berry produces a work of aesthetics more than evaluation, of love more than critique." —Booklist

"He can be said to have returned American poetry to a Wordsworthian clarity of purpose." —The New York Times Book Review

"Berry's nonfiction soars because its language is guided by thrift and propriety, a literary illustration of just the values that his words espouse." —San Francisco Chronicle
Product Details
ISBN: 9781619021532
ISBN-10: 1619021536
Publisher: Counterpoint
Publication Date: March 26th, 2013
Pages: 208
Language: English