January 30: William Carlos Williams: This is Just to Say, JS Hopkins: The World’s Best Romantic Advice

I am reviewing some of the previous chapters of the textbook this 2014. And for this chapter, the book discusses words, or rather, how the poet carefully chooses his or her words to write a poem that best conveys his or her ideas.

But not all poems are about ideas or emotions, some are there to experiment with sound and shape. There are others that are thought experiments. William Carlos Williams often wrote poems about poems and poems that were a very literal exploration of the world around him. When he wrote a poem about a red wheelbarrow, it was a poem about a red wheel barrow. There wasn’t anything to explore he was just using the words to give as vivid a picture of the world that he was experiencing at that moment much as a haiku is about one beautiful moment.

“This is Just to Say” is one of my favorite poems of his. It’s found poetry (just as a bicycle seat is found art). He turned a note that he wrote to his wife and turned it into a poem. Is it a critique on relationships between men and women? Or a commentary on the disparity between the sexes? Is it a love note? I don’t know if it’s any of those big ideas (or even bigger ones – or smaller ones), but I like the thought that it can be read any way that the reader chooses to read it. It says what you think it says. You can use the words to make it into anything you want. Hey, maybe it’s just a note.

This is Just to Say
by William Carlos Williams

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.

This poem that I’ve composed (more like I’ve “composed”) is also a found poem. It came from the internet via facebook and is superb. It seems that the internet through its random word generators and mash-ups(and other weird random time wasters) is a cornucopia of found poetry. Modern Lit in the making. This was supplied to me from my cousins who asked me to grab the nearest book, turn to page 45 and read the first sentence that appears. This sentence was said to tell me something very important about my love life. I read it (coincidentally it was this textbook that I grabbed).

I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t really get how it pertained but I liked that it made me reach for several different interpretations. So, I decided to turn it into a poem and give it a really great (ironic) title.

The World’s Best Romantic Advice
by JS Hopkins

If a poet troubles
to seek out the best words
available,
the least we can do
is to find out
what those words mean.

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About penneloppe

I like to write horror, dark fantasy and crime fiction. Sometimes, I'll write science fiction, but usually I like to write science fact. I also write screenplays and stage plays. My day job is office work. I live in Seattle and I have a cat.
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