The Poetry of William Carlos Williams of Rutherford

Counterpoint. Feb. 2011. c.192p. index. ISBN 9781582437149. $24. LIT
Award-winning poet, essayist, and novelist Berry (Hannah Coulter) here pays homage to another great American writer, one who was an early influence on Berry's work. William Carlos Williams (1883–1963) is best known for his five-volume epic poem Paterson and for hybrid poetry-prose works such as Spring and All (1923). The phrase "of Rutherford" in the title reflects that both Berry and Williams are deeply grounded in a particular geographic location. For Berry, Rutherford is a touchstone for Williams's work. Engaging in cogent literary criticism, Berry considers typical poetic elements such as syntax, measure, and rhythm in Williams's work. He also goes beyond this approach as he casts a poet's eye on themes such as the relationship between poet and place (the means by which Williams influenced Berry), the intersection of nature and art, and artistic innovation. Williams's argument with T.S. Eliot over the future of poetry is also illuminated.
VERDICT Berry's work will be of most interest to students and researchers in American modernist poetry, while practicing writers and poets may appreciate his insights into the creative process. Berry's large following may want to consider it as well.
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