ON CERTAIN SLANTS OF LIGHT SLIPPING, "ZIPPY ZAPPY," FROM WILLIAMS / David Hamilton THIS ESSAY BEGAN from my musing upon a claim, recently made, that there is no great poetry today, and that, in large part, because our poets are ignorant of contemporary philosophy and science.* There is little to do with such a generalization except to suppose that it must be true in many cases, false in others, and in most, actually, rather hard to tell. Ideas of genuine force and importance, as they emerge in any field of study or practice, invade and control portions of others in ways that, however fascinating to trace, are never exactly calculable. Usually, of course, it is only hindsight that begins to reveal those stories. William Carlos Williams presents one case in which this process seems well worth discussing. While forging his own way in a manner we tend to admire greatly, he seems to have kept remarkably abreast of contemporary thinking, particularly in matters of language and science. And while gathering evidence in support of that proposition, I happened upon an interesting counter movement, an instance of his recreating one fragment of that grand English tradition stretching back to
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1981
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