Selected Poems

by William Carlos Williams

Other authorsCharles Tomlinson (Editor)
Paper Book, 1985





New York : New Directions, 1985.


Reflects the most up-to-date Williams scholarship with selections arranged in chronological order.

User reviews

LibraryThing member shawjonathan
Having acquired a BA (Hons) in the 1970s majoring in Eng Lit without ever reading any WCW, I thought it wouldn't be a crime now to read more than 'The Red Wheelbarrow' and 'This is just to say' ... And indeed the book is an education and a joy. I did go hunting for learned commentary so as to
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deepen my appreciation of the poetry, and had the perverse pleasure of deciding that in some cases at least I would trust my own reading over that of the scholar.
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LibraryThing member jppoetryreader
This is the first full book of WCW's poetry I've read and I was pleasantly surprised by his range, considering it's only his more spare poems that get anthologized. I really have never understood why "The Red Wheelbarrow" has been singled out for so much press. It's instructional value? As an
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example of imagism? Now that I've read more of his work, I think it's even more ridiculous that "The Red Wheelbarrow" has become representative of his poetry because it really isn't.

I also feel vindicated in my earlier purchase of a two volume set of his collected poems and look forward to reading those as time allows. This 200 page volume was discovered at a used bookstore for $1.50 and I just couldn't pass it up. And I'm glad I didn't, not only because it has whetted my appetite for the collected works but because it will make a great loaner to others curious about him.

I'm not quite finished with this book. The last 40 pages are excerpts from his long poem "Paterson," which I'm finding I need to read slowly to catch how he's layering things. Thus far I'm finding it a very interesting poem. The same person who put together the collected volumes has also brought out an edition of Paterson and it's now on my amazon wish list.
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LibraryThing member whatsmacksaid
To be fair, I read this for a WCW class and had to zoom through 200 poems in about a week. But so many of them didn't make sense to me. References felt obscure and... well, I just had trouble enjoying most of the poems. My favorites, though, were "El Hombre" and "The Manouevre."
LibraryThing member GRLopez
As part of The Well-Educated Mind Reading Challenge, I only read the suggested poetry. This is the list and some of my initial impression(s):

Asphodel That Greeny Flower (Love letter asking wife forgiveness.)
The Descent of Winter (journal writings…really long and not interesting)
Landscape with the
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Fall of Icarus (about Brueghel’s painting!)
The Last Words of My English Grandmother (That was odd.)
Proletarian Portrait
The Red Wheelbarrow (experimental)
Self-Portrait (very weird)
Sonnet in Search of an Author (WHAT DID I JUST READ??)
Spring and All (OK, better…)
This is Just to Say
To Elsie (depressing)

Overall, I gave Williams three stars because it was just ok. He is called an Imaginist, or something like that, because he experimented with style. He did not follow rules (except his own). He left out punctuation and did not use typical sentences. He experimented with lines of poetry, and did not bother with rhyming.

His topics were all over the place and very strange. But I did have one favorite and it was Landscape with the Fall of Icarus because it caused me to revisit the painting. Williams pointed out that no one really even noticed what happened to Icarus, even the fisherman at the water's edge, a few feet from where Icarus entered the sea. It was all kind of humorous, and I suppose Brueghel meant it to be, and Williams was moved to write about it.
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