Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Red Wheelbarrow

I see that William Carlos Williams's red wheelbarrow is being wheeled out today filled with requests for an EGM from concerned members of the Poetry Society. There has been much debate as to what the Poetry Society should be and this put me in mind of a letter from William Carlos Williams to Marianne Moore on 23 December 1936:

"If only I keep saying year in year out – it were possible for 'us' to have a place, a location, to which we could resort, singly or otherwise, and to which others could follow us as dogs follow each other – without formality but surely – where we could be known as poets and our work be seen – and we could see the work of others and buy it and have it! Why can't such a thing come about? It seems so brainless and spineless a thing for us to be 'exiles' in too literal and accepted a sense. Being exiles might we not at least, as exiles, consort more easily together? We seem needlessly isolated and we suffer dully, supinely. I am not one for leading a crusade, but I'd lead a little group through the underbrush to a place in the woods, or under a barn if I thought anyone would (or perhaps, could) follow me. Or I'd follow. The basis for an agreement is the thing that is perhaps lacking. And perhaps your catholic breadth of character, more than your mind, even, might be that thing – and the thing we admire. But nobody moves – or moves only singly. Is this hope?"

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