Ear In Bartrams Tree

Ear In Bartrams Tree

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From the introduction by Guy Davenport: "... Williams finds his poetic grist in the stars as well as ourselves, to twist a Shakespearean line, and he's not one to shy away from other masters to whom he's listened with care. Ezra Pound is Williams's "familiar compound ghost," and appears to Charles Olson ("let the song lie in the thing," from "Some Southpaw Pitching"). There is an echo in that from another, William Carlos Williams -- no relation -- who insisted "no ideas but in things." ...

Jonathan Williams, poet, is a Southerner by birth but by no means a parochial one, and a wanderer too. What Williams finds in England, Wales, and Scotland (as well as Spillville, Iowa: "between Eldorado and Jericho / west of / US 52") is not a second heritage but one in which he was raised from the beginning. He's aware of this heritage because he is consciously adding to it, a tangled American idiom largely untraced in and out of officially-sanctioned literature and art. His long zig-zag trips can easily be explained by noting he is a publisher of books unwelcome to commercial publishers, and by the fact that to know artists and poets of a certain stripe, one has to travel to the smallest of American towns. He persists, because that's where the poetry is."