Thursday, March 28, 2019
Spatial Rhythm and Poetic Invention in William Carlos Williams Sunday
William Carlos Williams was fascinated by the ways in which living organisms and inert consider occupy space--how they move in it, or cannot move, atomic number 18 cramped or allowed to roam freely--and how the space inside organisms and matter is charted, perceived, and manipulated. Williamss preoccupation with essential space in the material world is paralleled by his formal experimentations with the placement of words on the page. Without creation nothing is good spaced (P 50), Williams writes at the beginning of Sunday in the Park, raising the question, what does well spaced mean for Williams? How can the world and how can poetry be well spaced? The aim of this paper is to look at the kin between Williamss use of what I will call spatial rhythms and the imagination of poetry that emerges in Sunday in the Park--a section of Paterson oddly important for thinking about Williamss late poetic style because it contains the noteworthy section beginning The descent beckons / as the ascent beckoned, marking Williamss invention of the triadic stanza with variable foot, a form he would begin to use ofttimes in the 1950s. My hope is to offer a new perspective on Williamss poetics by showing how it is rooted in a conception of space, twain external and internal or biological, that is constantly moving in a rhythmic fashion. Although William Carlos Williamss epic poem, Paterson, is about the city of Paterson and a man, also named Paterson, who is that city, the actual physical space of that city tends to be elusive throughout the poem, change state most concrete in the second Book, Sunday in the Park, which, however, does not deal with the city itself, but with the park above it. The park is some(prenominal) a part of the city of Paterson (... ...s A New World sensitive (McGraw-Hill, 1981), 462-63 and 466-67.Hit the gumption button on the upper go away hand control of your browser to return to the text4. Mariani, 462-63.Hit the back button on the upper left hand corner of your browser to return to the text5. Kenneth Burke, The Thinking of the Body in Language as Symbolic Action (Berkeley U of California P, 1966), 340-41.Hit the back button on the upper left hand corner of your browser to return to the text6. The last two descending sequences I have quoted the premiere beginning with She was married with empty words and the second with The descent beckons are also reminiscent of Marcel Duchamps Nude Descending Staircase. On Williamss come to in cubism and in Duchamp in particular, see Reed Whittemore, William Carlos Williams Poet from Jersey (Boston Houghton Mifflin, 1975), 113-124.