Imaginations: Kora in Hell / Spring and All / The Descent of Winter / The Great American Novel / A Novelette & Other Prose
William Carlos Williams
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Imaginations makes accessible to the broad reading public live early books by William Carlos Williams, which, except for Kora in Hell, have long been hard to find in their original and complete forms.
Written between 1920 and 1932, all five were first published in small editions, three of them in France. These are pivotal and seminal works, books in which a great writer was charting the course he later would follow, experimenting freely, boldly searching for a new kind of prose style to express "the power of the imagination to hold human beings to life and propel them onward.”
The prose-poem improvisations (Kora in Hell) . . . the interweaving of prose and poetry in alternating passages (Spring and All and The Descent of Winter) . . . an antinovel whose subject is the impossibility of writing "The Great American Novel" in America . . . automatic writing (A Novelette) . . . these are the challenges which Williams accepted and brilliantly met in his early work.
the diseased parts as a priest might do before the Maker. I am speaking of his style. I am referring to his broken words, the universality of his growing language which is no longer English. His language, much like parts of Rabelais, has no faculties of place. Joyce uses German, French, Italian, Latin, Irish, anything. Time and space do not exist, it is all one in the eyes of God—and man. Being Catholic in mind, to blatantly espouse the church, that is the superficial thing to do. The sensible
it have a least common denominator quality which gives them currency—but because it possesses the quality of independent existence, of reality which we feel in ourselves. It is opposed to art but apposed to it. I suppose Shakespeare’s familiar aphorism about holding the mirror up to nature has done more harm in stabilizing the copyist tendency of the arts among us than— the mistake in it (though we forget that it is not S. speaking but an imaginative character of his) is to have believed that
sat on the bench of the subway car looking idly about, being rushed under the river at great speed to the kitchen of her mother’s flat. Malodorous mother. Or wrinkled hard-put-to-it mother. Savior of the movies. After the impact his great heart had expanded so as to include the whole city, every woman young and old there he having impregnated with sons and daughters. For everyone loved him. And he knew how to look into their eyes with both passion and understanding. Each had taken him to her soul
tomato vines, almost spent, hang on stakes. Oh, blessed love—the dream engulfs her. She opens her eyes on the troubled bosom of the mother who is nursing the babe and watching the door. And watching the eye of the man. Talking English, a stream of Magyar, Polish what? to the tall man coming and going. Oh, blessed love where are you there, pleasure driven out, order triumphant, one house like another, grass cut to pay lovelessly. Bored we turn to cars to take us to “the country” to “nature” to
texture—must be felt as one feels instantly a dereliction in the selection of covers for this joint. Other than that—The corner of the street became, not indifference, but a cold stone-edged place of the winds. So all things enter into the singleness of the moment and the moment partakes of the diversity of all things. And so starting, stopping, alighting, climbing, sitting—a singleness lights the crocheted edge of the heavy white sheets in the houses of the Umbrian peasants in Lyndhurst, N.J.