Friday, November 14, 2008

Poetry Friday - The Uses of Poetry

I was planning on posting my thoughts about the biography A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams today, but I logged on this morning to find Fuse has posted an amazingly thorough review. Really, what more can I add? Go read her review. It's terrific.

Instead, I'll share a favorite poem by Williams.
The Uses of Poetry
by William Carlos Williams

I've fond anticipation of a day
O'erfilled with pure diversion presently,
For I must read a lady poesy
The while we glide by many a leafy bay,

Hid deep in rushes, where at random play
The glossy black winged May-flies, or whence flee
Hush-throated nestlings in alarm,
Whom we have idly frighted with our boat's long sway.

For, lest o'ersaddened by such woes as spring
To rural peace from our meek onward trend,
What else more fit? We'll draw the latch-string

And close the door of sense; then satiate wend,
On poesy's transforming giant wing,
To worlds afar whose fruits all anguish mend.
This poem can be found in a volume entitled Poems that Williams self-published in 1909. A new version entitled Poems, by William Carlos Williams and Virginia M. Wright-Peterson was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2002. It contains the self-published edition of Poems with previously unpublished notes Williams made on writing poetry.

The round up this week is being hosted by Yat-Yee Chong. Do stop by and take some time to enjoy all the great poetry being shared. Before you go, please check out this week's poetry stretch results. Happy poetry Friday, all!


  1. I love imagining that "giant transforming wing" of poetry. Seems especially appropriate as we fly from blog to blog on Poetry Friday.

  2. Sigh. So lovely. Thank you!!

  3. Interesting sonnet. I love that he bailed on his fourth B rhyme, (abba abxa cdcdcd).

  4. He had such an amazing life. Hopefully RIVER OF WORDS will help folks get past the wheelbarrow and chickens and read more of his poems! (You are helping today!)