It’s So Easy to Hate on William Carlos Williams Sometimes

When people who are inevitably not me (nor any of the other Muses, to date) get Freshly Pressed, then I might ignore them and their turn in the spotlight.  But I also might read whatever it was that the WordPress crew found to be worth everyone’s time, usually concluding that I fail to impress them with my snappy titles.  Sometimes I’m drawn in so far that I read the blogger’s other posts, indicating that hey, he’s posted more than one worthwhile thing (and, you know, mayhaps I’ll stand out in his mind and he’ll link to me or something.  And then shall I win the love of dozens, nay, scores of readers. …A girl can dream, right?  Someone has probably written a book about a girl dreaming a dream like that).

Which is how I came to read Byronic Man’s This Is Just To Say and also This Is Just For You To Say.

Which brings me to my not-exactly-novel-but-VERY-true-to-life rendition of the same.

“This Is Just To Say”
From Terpsichore to Thalia

I have eaten
the Phish Food
that was in
the freezer

and which
you were probably
for some future stressful day of moving and classes and insect-laden violins and general madness or melancholy

Forgive me
it was delicious
so I bought
two pints more.

You know
you love me

even if you
are far away
from said freezer


10 thoughts on “It’s So Easy to Hate on William Carlos Williams Sometimes

    • I guess I should
      be honest

      I do not really
      hate William
      Carlos Williams

      but I might
      hate editors of

      who leave his
      less silly poems
      out of them all.

      • I have yet to meet a poem of his that I did not like, but it is true that editors seem to use the same poems of his over and over again. What is with that?

      • My theory is that they took the most extreme examples of his variable foot so as to differentiate him from the other poets. That might be nice for students trying to remember Who Wrote What, but it takes the poem itself out of the greater context of WCW’s work. That’s what I really dislike: that atrophied concept of what he did and what he wrote, because the collections I encounter present me with “This is Just to Say” and “The Red Wheelbarrow” over and over.

  1. How fun! I first heard this poem read in the sonorous voice of Garrison Keillor on Writer’s Almanac. I was pleasantly surprised, because often the poems on that show were kind of depressing. (I feel I need to clarify, I’m not a regular NPR listener, but I listened to WA several times a week for about 7 months because it was on in the morning when I drove in to work.)

  2. Marriage

    So different, this man
    And this woman:
    A stream flowing
    In a field.

    In all fairness, though, most poets get the same treatment in anthologies. We get their “representative” or “most famous” works, and we are left to seek out more. For many people, Frost is “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” and Dickenson is “because I could not stop for Death…”

    • Well, right. And it usually just leaves me wondering *why* they should be the “most famous” or “representative” works. No one seems to be able to provide that particular bit of background.

      Yeats is “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” The word “wattles” disgusts me so much that I spent years thinking I really disliked his poetry when in fact I love most of it – I even enjoy most of that poem. But “wattles” – ugh! I have difficulty reading past it.

      • That reminds me of a cartoon my brother once made. A stick-figure shoving a cannon off of a bunk-bed.
        Debunk the canon!

        Hmm… my first encounter with the word “wattle” was connected with the flower, so I have a somewhat different take.

        From the Australian folk song “Reedy River” by Henry Lawson:

        “But of the hut I built there are no traces now,
        And many rains have leveled the furrows of my plow.
        The glad, bright days have vanished, for sombre branches wave
        Their wattle-blossoms, golden, above my Mary’s grave.”

        It is not a pleasant-sounding word, though. It took a poignant song and beautiful imagery to redeem it for me.

      • Somehow “wattle-blossoms” is superior to “wattles,” the way “moisture” is a pleasanter word than “moist.” I might have greater difficulty because pronouncing both t’s sounds obnoxious, but softening that dental sound makes it sound like “waddles.” Not sure. Clearly I have curiously irrational responses to some things.

        “Reedy River” sounds lonely and, yes, lovely.

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