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In the Circus

William Wootten: Low-Pressure Poetry, 3 August 2006

The Collected Poems 
by Kenneth Koch.
Knopf, 761 pp., £40, November 2005, 1 4000 4499 5
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... Kenneth Koch (pronounced ‘coke’) could do a mean impersonation of William CarlosWilliams. ‘This is Just to Say’, Williams’s note asking forgiveness for eating the plums in the icebox which ‘you were probably/saving/for breakfast’ on the grounds that they were ‘so sweet/and so cold’, gets the Koch treatment in ‘Variations on a Theme by William CarlosWilliams’: I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer ...

Pioneers

Christopher Reid, 3 September 1981

Some Americans: A Personal Record 
by Charles Tomlinson.
California, 134 pp., £6.50, June 1981, 0 520 04037 6
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... them.’ The innovators to whom he refers are those American poets – Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, William CarlosWilliams and others – whose work and moral example have been of importance to his own growth as a writer. The sentence quoted above, with its tinge of elegy and irony, occurs in the fourth and final ...

This Condensery

August Kleinzahler: In Praise of Lorine Niedecker, 5 June 2003

Collected Works 
by Lorine Niedecker, edited by Jenny Penberthy.
California, 471 pp., £29.95, May 2002, 0 520 22433 7
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Collected Studies in the Use of English 
by Kenneth Cox.
Agenda, 270 pp., £12, September 2001, 9780902400696
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New Goose 
by Lorine Niedecker, edited by Jenny Penberthy.
Listening Chamber, 98 pp., $10, January 2002, 0 9639321 6 0
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... Madison, is 34 miles north-west and Milwaukee about 60 miles away, east-northeast. Jonathan Williams, of Jargon Press, visited Niedecker in 1962, a year before her second marriage to Albert Millen and subsequent move to Milwaukee: Miss Niedecker, I guess in her fifties by now, lives in a tiny green house out at Black Hawk Island . . . Right out in back ...

Chicory and Daisies

Stephanie Burt: William CarlosWilliams, 7 March 2002

Collected Poems: Volume I 
by William CarlosWilliams, edited by A. Walton Litz and Christopher MacGowan.
Carcanet, 579 pp., £12.95, December 2000, 1 85754 522 2
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Collected Poems: Volume II 
by William CarlosWilliams, edited by A. Walton Litz and Christopher MacGowan.
Carcanet, 553 pp., £12.95, December 2000, 1 85754 523 0
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... The painters have paid too much attention to the ism and not enough to the painting,’ William CarlosWilliams wrote in 1928. Something similar could be said about Williams’s own critics: since his death in 1963, attention to his theories and to his life has been getting in the way of his poems ...

On Lee Harwood

August Kleinzahler: Lee Harwood, 8 April 2015

TheOrchid Boat 
by Lee Harwood.
Enitharmon, 48 pp., £8.99, July 2014, 978 1 907587 53 5
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... are cinematic. The plainness of diction and spare style was acquired, at least in part, from William CarlosWilliams, an early enthusiasm, with his habit of detailed observation and fascination with the ordinary or non-poetic: what Williams himself called the ‘imaginative ...

Heavy Lifting

John Palattella: John Ashbery, 7 June 2001

Other Traditions 
by John Ashbery.
Harvard, 168 pp., £15.50, October 2000, 0 674 00315 2
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John Ashbery and American Poetry 
by David Herd.
Manchester, 245 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 7190 5597 0
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... when the batteries have run down’. The surprise is that instead of lecturing on Wallace Stevens, William CarlosWilliams, W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Gertrude Stein and Marianne Moore, all of whom he acknowledges as ‘major influences’, he discusses an eclectic group of 19th and 20th-century poets who for the ...

A Storm in His Luggage

C.K. Stead, 26 January 1995

Ezra Pound and James Laughlin: Selected Letters 
edited by David Gordon.
Norton, 313 pp., £23, June 1994, 0 393 03540 9
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‘Agenda’: An Anthology. The First Four Decades 
edited by William Cookson.
Carcanet, 418 pp., £25, May 1994, 1 85754 069 7
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... born. By 1936, when its first anthology was published, the names of contributors included Pound, William CarlosWilliams, E.E. Cummings, Wallace Stevens and Marianne Moore. For 35 years Pound advised, instructed, cajoled, abused, while Laughlin for the most part acted on the good advice, ignored the bad, and behaved ...

What became of Modernism?

C.K. Stead, 1 May 1980

Five American Poets 
by John Matthias, introduced by Michael Schmidt.
Carcanet, 160 pp., £3.25, November 1979, 0 85635 259 4
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The New Australian Poetry 
edited by John Tranter.
Makar Press, 330 pp., £6.50, November 1979
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Carpenters of Light 
by Neil Powell.
Carcanet, 154 pp., £6.95, November 1979, 0 85635 305 1
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Mirabell: Books of Number 
by James Merrill.
Oxford, 182 pp., £3.25, June 1979, 0 19 211892 7
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The Book of the Body 
by Frank Bidart.
Faber, 44 pp., £4.50, October 1979, 0 374 11549 4
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Skull of Adam 
by Stanley Moss.
Anvil, 67 pp., £2.50, May 1979, 0 85646 041 9
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Poems 1928-1978 
by Stanley Kunitz.
Secker, 249 pp., £6.50, September 1979, 0 436 23932 9
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... all these and others, though clearly different, are unimaginable without Pound, early Eliot, William CarlosWilliams and perhaps Wallace Stevens as forerunners. This is the main stream of modern American poetry. In England the picture is very different. Pound is grudgingly acknowledged, distrusted, kept at a ...

Dazzling Philosophy

Michael Hofmann, 15 August 1991

Seeing things 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 113 pp., £12.99, June 1991, 0 571 14468 3
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... volume of new poems, is aimed squarely at transcendence. The title has a humble and practical William CarlosWilliams ring to it, but that is misleading. It is better understood as having been distilled from ‘I must be seeing things’, said seriously, and with a fair amount of stress on the ‘I must’. The ...

Fast Water off the Bow-Wave

Jeremy Harding: George Oppen, 21 June 2018

21 Poems 
by George Oppen, edited by David B. Hobbs.
New Directions, 48 pp., £7.99, September 2017, 978 0 8112 2691 2
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... it new’. It included a short, boisterous preface by Pound. Reviewing it for Poetry in 1934, William CarlosWilliams called it a blueprint for ‘a new construction’, undertaken with an ‘irreducible minimum’ of means. The icy charm of those poems, 31 in all, one per page, along with their brevity and ...

Little Philadelphias

Ange Mlinko: Imagism, 25 March 2010

The Verse Revolutionaries: Ezra Pound, H.D. and the Imagists 
by Helen Carr.
Cape, 982 pp., £30, May 2009, 978 0 224 04030 3
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... fir. The sea poem had come a long way from ‘Casabianca’. As a historian, Carr is ecumenical: William Brooke Smith, a student who died of tuberculosis in 1908, is given as much consideration as Pound’s other early friend William CarlosWilliams; Marianne Moore, who matriculated ...

Poet at the Automat

Eliot Weinberger: Charles Reznikoff, 22 January 2015

... and George Oppen. The three, all Jewish New Yorkers, shared an admiration for Ezra Pound and William CarlosWilliams and a belief, along with Williams, that American modernism should be relocated from Paris and London to the US. Asked to edit an issue of Poetry in 1931, Zukofsky ...
Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered 
by William Pritchard.
Oxford, 186 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 19 503462 7
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... in style was striking. Set beside the early work of Pound and Eliot (or of Wallace Stevens and William CarlosWilliams, for that matter), Frost’s ‘simple’ lyrics might have seemed to be some sort of throwback – as if they belonged far down the back slope of the great Modernist watershed. But those same ...

A Hammer in His Hands

Frank Kermode: Lowell’s Letters, 22 September 2005

The Letters of Robert Lowell 
edited by Saskia Hamilton.
Faber, 852 pp., £30, July 2005, 0 571 20204 7
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... or two to a former lover, Gertrude Buckman, a sentence to George Santayana and two sentences to William CarlosWilliams. Of these communications, those to Bishop, Buckman and Williams are certified as ‘written during an acute manic episode’, but the others are not. A few days ...

Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban, 23 July 1987

Home and Away 
by Steve Ellis.
Bloodaxe, 62 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240271
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The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 48 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3227 2
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The Frighteners 
by Sean O’Brien.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240134
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... it clear whether they mean Robert Lowell, or Allen Ginsberg, or the Black Mountain imitators of William CarlosWilliams. ‘The Liverpool Poets’ are regarded with a mixture of fear and derision. ‘The ranks of the illiterate raise puerile and rhythmless voices,’ wrote Roy Fuller. ‘Infantile simplicity is ...

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