Monday, November 10, 2008

permitting contradictions

In the summer of '99 a group of us gathered to talk at great length about a single poem by William Carlos Williams - "To Elsie" ("The pure products of America / go crazy"). At one point Bob Perelman, one of the participants, said something about the way the poem leaves elements open and contradictory, and then implied (and then at one moment said outright) that this became and still is a key idea operating in contemporary avant-garde poetics. I think Bob frames the point very nicely here, so have a listen to this very brief excerpt from the longer discussion of the poem.