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Rigor of Beauty

Essays in Commemoration of William Carlos Williams

Ian Copestake

William Carlos Williams is widely acknowledged to be among the most important American poets of the twentieth century. This collection includes sixteen new essays from many of the world’s leading authorities on Williams, and is published to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of his death in 1963.
The volume contains fresh assessments of the nature and extent of Williams’s profound and enduring impact on contemporary American poetic traditions, while providing a platform for appraising the neglected achievement of Williams as a writer of fiction and short stories. In doing so these and other essays highlight the nature and importance of Williams’s relationship to working class life in twentieth-century America. Additionally, the volume groups together studies focusing on the enduring legacy of Williams’s long poem, Paterson, and essays which revise Williams’s perceived neglect of African-American and Native-American culture and history.
Contents: Ian D. Copestake: Introduction. The Basis of Williams’s Faith in Art – Robert Coles: Remembering Dr. Williams – Lisa M. Steinman: Williams «As Usual» – Stephen Cushman: «The Descent of Winter» and the Poetry of the Calendar – Diederik Oostdijk: «Shapiro is All Right»: Karl Shapiro and Williams – Peter Schmidt: Williams’s Lyric «These»: His Deepest Descent – David Arnold: Wanderings with Janus: Situating Rome – Peter Halter: The Hidden Artistry of Williams’s «Doctor Stories» – Christoph Ribbat: «Information and Tenderness»: Williams, Photography, and «The Girl with a Pimply Face» – Alec Marsh: The Limits of Progressivism: The Political Economy of Williams’s «Stecher Trilogy» – Natalie Gerber: Getting the «Squiggly Tunes Down» on the Page: Williams’s Triadic-Line Verse and American Intonation – Michael Borshuk: «A Synthesis of Racial Caress»: Hybrid Modernism in the Jazz Poems of Williams and Mina Loy – Steven Belletto: «Ampersand, Quicksand»: Williams, Man Orchid, and the Miscegenated American Idiom – Rocío Montoro: The Female American Idiom in Williams’s Plays – Christopher MacGowan: «The Indian Emerging»: Native American History in Later Williams – Gary Grieve-Carlson: Getting the News from Poems: History, In the American Grain, and Paterson – Mark C. Long: Ideas as Forms of Beauty: Williams’s Paterson and A. R. Ammons’s Tape for the Turn of the Year – Ian D. Copestake: Between the Eye and the Ear: The Poetic Autobiographies of Williams and Basil Bunting.