Sunday, 5 June 2011

This is just to say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Would it make any difference if William Carlos Williams had published this 1934 poem like this?

I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold


The poem as many of us will know is supposed to have been found on the refrigerator from which someone, perhaps WCW himself, had snaffled his wife's plums. So why did he write it out this way? The poet John Hollander identifies this visual indicator - the strip the lines makes as they run down the page - as the "most popular verse form in America today". Hollander was writing in 1981 but perhaps that comment can still be held true; that sight of poetry is more indicative of poetry than sound.

This is just to see...

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