During the last years of his life when sickness had already crippled him, William Carlos Williams was fortunate enough to experience at last the literary fame that, for decades, had passed him by and left him on the margins of an evolving canon of Anglo-American modernist poetry anchored in T. S. Eliot. During the sixties Eliot’s reign collapsed, and Williams, the marginal modernist, became the father figure of a generation of poets that broke with the conventions of a quasi-institutionalized High Modernism by going back to an earlier phase of linguistic experimentation. Since then, there is hardly any contemporary poet (from Allen Ginsberg to Robert Creeley, from John Ashbery to Charles Bernstein or Susan Howe) who has not admitted to the role Williams’s poetry had played at one point in his or her development. The critical assessment of his achievement has also long been completed: his lifelong struggle to connect life and art in the practice of his poetry, and his dedication to the development of a genuinely American modernist style. His insistence on the importance of the local and on natural speech (the American idiom) made many critics see him as a cultural nationalist whose dedication to the “New” in language and perception grew from the “wonder” of the continent’s discovery that would always remain America’s spiritual resource. Others argued that the same commitment also connected him with the experimentalism of the European avantgardes (to Cubists and Surrealists) with whom Williams never ceased to be in dialogue.
|Ausgabe / Jahr:||1 / 2013|
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