Reading William Carlos Williams

Selected Poems by William Carlos Williams felt rather patchy to me. Some parts of it I absolutely loved  and have read over and over again while others I could barely bother reading. Quite a large part of the book felt like it was trying to hard to be poetry and push an unknown meaning rather than expressing anything fully.

There are a few new poems included as well as a good selection from previous collections. While it was nice to read the collection through chronologically it felt rather patchy and incomplete. A large part of the middle section of the collection felt rather convoluted and a little over-worked. The last sections were easily my favourites and the more that I read the more that I enjoyed them, the bright imagery in particular was brilliantly evocative.

The clearer the meaning of the poem the more complex it appeared to be. My favourites included Dedication for a Plot of Ground, and the final two stanza of it are exquisite. I also really liked Song and Jersey Lyric. I’ll certainly be getting hold of more of his work so I can read it more fully but will probably stick to his very early and much later collections.


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