Short Poem Saturday – El Hombre – Williams

ElHombre_WCWIt is strange for me to think of William Carlos Williams as being undiscovered or overshadowed: his poetry certainly keeps up with all of the other titans of poetry in every anthology I come across. And yet, during his lifetime, his work was consistently overpowered by his contemporary T.S. Eliot. It would be the Beat poets who would “discover” and elevate him and his work – although the appreciation was apparently not mutual (my thanks to Matt over at Beat.Company for that lead!). I have been strongly drawn to working in collage for WCW poems these last few weeks – collage and composition by me.

12 comments

  1. Serendipity to see your post this morning. A Christmas gift from my husband this year: City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology, edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 60th Anniversary Edition. The book store in San Fran — the Beat Generation.

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    1. Lovely! What a great gift – I didn’t know they had this (it is now on my list!). I miss living near City Lights – I need to make a return “pilgrimage”. Through this blog, I’ve learned so much more about its rich poetry history!

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  2. Very cool post! I have not really heard of this man which kind of proves your point about him being overlooked. I am always happy to find talented and interesting people who are not given the credit they are due. It is awesome you are bringing to light the man’s poetry talents. I will have a read of some of his works. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thank you! It is my pleasure! I find it interesting how literary careers trace their paths – their twists and turns. Having studied poetry a bit, I knew WCW’s more well known poems, but little of the arc of his career. I hope you enjoy his poems! I am excited to follow your blog and read your upcoming posts, you obviously put a tremendous amount of research into each one!

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  3. Addendum:

    Also in San Francisco, Ginsberg met members of the San Francisco Renaissance (James Broughton, Robert Duncan, Madeline Gleason and Kenneth Rexroth) and other poets who would later be associated with the Beat Generation in a broader sense. Ginsberg’s mentor William Carlos Williams wrote an introductory letter to San Francisco Renaissance figurehead Kenneth Rexroth, who then introduced Ginsberg into the San Francisco poetry scene. There, Ginsberg also met three budding poets and Zen enthusiasts who had become friends at Reed College: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Lew Welch. In 1959, along with poets John Kelly, Bob Kaufman, A. D. Winans, and William Margolis, Ginsberg was one of the founders of the “Beatitude poetry magazine“.

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