The red wheelbarrow. The plums. Dancing in front of a mirror. That’s what I always think of when I think of William Carlos Williams. I’ve been reading around a lot more in his Selected Poems and it turns out he’s a lot more irreverent, and less the grandfatherly type, than I thought.

I’m not sure why he’s always seemed so. I complained to my book club that my misperception of his work must be because the only poems of his that are anthologized are the imagist ones. But then I went back to my anthologies and I’m wrong, poems like “Tract,” with more edge and a much different tone than “The Red Wheelbarrow,” are actually well-represented.

Maybe it’s just the photographs. His Selected cover photo gives a much different impression of the man than the photo on the cover of his autobiography (which is an entertaining read. It’s really just a series of somewhat randomly connected stories and anecdotes. Some are quite interesting, though some are a bit ‘and then that one time when I was a boy I fell down.’ “Spontaneous” is the word the jacket uses.) Here are more photos, and even a self-portrait painting (scroll a ways down).Continue reading “W.C.W”