Sunday, March 01, 2009

From the book, I Wanted to Write a Poem, by William Carlos Williams (Beacon Press, Beacon Hill, Boston, 1958):

William Carlos Williams:

"The suggestion to collect my poems was a lovely gesture from my own gang and I was deeply moved by it. Louis Zukofsky did most of the work of making the collection. Needless to say, it didn't sell at all. I was pleased when Wallace Stevens agreed to write the Preface but nettled when I read the part where he said I was interested in the anti-poetic. I had never thought consciously of such a thing. As a poet I was using a means of getting an effect. It's all one to me—the anti-poetic is not something to enhance the poetic—it's all one piece. I didn't agree with Stevens that it was a conscious means I was using. I have never been satisfied that the anti-poetic had any validity or even existed."

Wallace Stevens, from the Preface to Collected Poems 1921-1931 (The Objectivist Press, New York, 1934):

"His passion for the anti-poetic is a blood passion and not a passion of the inkpot. The anti-poetic is his spirit's cure. He needs it as a naked man needs shelter or as an animal needs salt. To a man with a sentimental side the anti-poetic is that truth, that reality to which all of us are forever fleeing."

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