Sunday, March 2, 2014

All sorts of asses ‘love’ poetry. Why not? It confirms them in the assininity of their deepest beliefs. It underlies the racial laziness, the unwillingness to think, the satisfaction of feeling oneself part of the race and of having all posterity behind one in proneness and stupidity. This is what is inherent in most ‘love’ of poetry.

A smooth, lying meter that nostalgically carries them back to sleep is what they want. That’s why for a living, changing people only the new poetry is truly safe, truly worth reading. And that is why it is opposed by the best people—the intellectually deepest bogged—as if it were the devil himself.

     —William Carlos Williams, “Note: The American Language and the New Poetry, so called” (1931?)

1 comment:

Sharat said...

As a defender of metrical verse, I take offense to this :)

What makes the prosody of work-a-day speech rhythms more capable of rousing people from their intellectual slumber? The curious and the brilliant poets and literary critics will seek out and love the best poetry, whether it be of the metrical or free kind. My own preference to metrical verse is that its strangeness requires more attention to parse for the reader, and its rigor requires a special kind of attention to sound and language for the writer which is not found in free verse prosody.

All of which is not to say that free verse can't do equally brilliant things.