Sunday, September 19, 2004

Reading Assignment due Wednesday, 22 Sept.

Let it be granted that whatever is new in literature the germ of it will be found somewhere in the writings of other times; only the modern emphasis gives work a present distinction. ... The necessity for this modern focus and the meaning of the changes involved are, however, another matter, the everlasting stumbling block to criticism... --William Carlos Williams


Wood's Lot is one of the best sites to read a daily (always amazing!) collection of commentary and links about poets, their lives and poetry, politics, art, and contemporary everyday life. At Wood's Lot, this past week there was a focus on poet William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), on Sept. 17, his birthday.

Via Wood's Lot, here are some essential pieces of reading, a collective mini-key to begin understanding some major influences on contemporary experimentalist poetry. First, have a look at the fascinating interpretive essay, "The Work of Gertrude Stein," (essay first published in 1970) by one of North America's most influential poets, William Carlos Williams. (& here is a link to six Williams poems first published in The Dial #69: August, 1920)--his work is one of my favorites).

In the essay, Williams is writing about conjunctions between Laurence Sterne's (1713-68) eighteenth century novel Tristram Shandy, and Gertrude Stein's (1874-1946) radical stretchings of-on-with-over-under-beyond-for language--here is Stein's poetic work, "Rooms," in the longer work, Tender Buttons and here is an excerpt from a Stein essay, "Composition as Explanation."

Read for Wednesday the links here (read the Williams and Stein essays and poems, & all the short biographical info on all 3 of these authors--but it is not necessary to read all of Sterne's Tristram Shandy right now--but do read some excerpts from the link and bookmark it for future reference), when we'll discuss and you can begin to write your responses on this mosaic of readings, which responses will be due Monday, 27 Sept.


Response to a kari edwards' poem: student James Ola