Saturday, March 20, 2010
It’s not here yet for this first day of Spring, but by the time that the Phillies are putting the hurt on the New York Yankees in late October, you ought to be able to buy a decent & not too expensive edition of Spring & All by William Carlos Williams from New Directions Press. This is a book that has been waiting to happen for nearly 40 years – 87 if you want to date it from its original 300-copy Contact Press edition of 1923. Save for the hard-to-find not-quite-pirate Frontier Press edition of 1970 & the how-many-books-can-you-fit-in-a-phonebooth crowding of Imaginations, the most radical critical text of the 20th century has been more widely known for the gems of poetry Williams built his argument around, including “The red wheelbarrow.” Like Tender Buttons, the volume that is just possibly its closest kin, Spring and All is a work that every young poet should be carrying around in their back pocket until it dissolves. And then they should get a new copy.