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Friday, 26 October 2012

William Carlos Williams: Arrival


East Side Interior: Edward Hopper, etching, 1922; image by Thomas Shahan 3, 20 August 2011
(Whitney Museum of American Art)

And yet one arrives somehow,
finds himself loosening the hooks of
her dress
in a strange bedroom --
feels the autumn
dropping its silk and linen leaves
about her ankles.
The tawdry veined body emerges
twisted upon itself
like a winter wind . . . !

Evening Wind: Edward Hopper, etching, 1921; image by Thomas Shahan 3, 30 November 2011 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York)

William Carlos Williams: Arrival, from Sour Grapes (1921)


Hazen said...

Two of the mighty ones, together. Gonna be a good day.

TC said...

There is a strange disembodiment in these images of the bodily, as if the maker were to stand off from the made thing to consider it in the light of another world.

A restlessness, a momentary disturbed intimacy, a voyeuristic prying of light into shadow, a confined interior scene (to quote Ivo Kranzfelder on these 1921-1922 etchings of Hopper's) "expanded by something coming from outside".

The dark private rooms penetrated by a bright indeterminate mystery from beyond, by an arriving visitor -- and by our intruding eyes.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Winter tree
autumn. In
a couple of
months I will
be used to
Wings distract
my stare. I did
record this.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Status removed
to animal. We are not
supposed to have bodies.
We have our dwellings
our minds.
Homeless waiting
without cover
Notice air
freedom in winter
to a greater extent.

Wooden Boy said...

At first, what struck me were those three hard words: "tawdry veined body". The good doctor examines the subject. The body as a condition, a inventory of symptoms

Then, the poet meeting with his automated self going to the work of desire.

The complicity that both Hopper and Williams call us to is very, very uncomfortable.



As if EH were etching WCS's words, or WCW writing EH's etched lines. Can't help thinking of his young housewife, who

"At ten A.M. . . .
moves about in negligee behind
the wooden walls of her husband's house. . ."

-- except that on that occasion the good doctor doesn't enter, but "pass[es] solitary in [his] car."


light coming into sky above still black
ridge, faint silver of planet by branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

right side of approximation
in which, space there

that is, importance of this
as follows, continuum

grey white clouds reflected in channel,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit

Hazen said...

The woman's face turned expectantly—suddenly?—towards the billowing curtain. The parallel intimacies of pictures and poem, of painter and poet . . .

TC said...

Couldn't agree more about the uncomfortable complicities. One of those wet-behind the-ears pomo-tribe junior professor analysts (expert on "alterity" doncha know) has written of the WCW poem as though it were an explicit account of an "extramarital affair", with the tone of a forensic scientist or investigative reporter who has clinching evidence (tapes, photos) hid away in the drawer somewhere. You can get away with anything in academia.

I take the poem as it comes to me, and the arrival of the doctor in the house could (and perhaps in fact did) mean so many things.

The Hoppers too I can't help reading as expansive containers of social/historical as well as existential meaning, the East Side immigrant woman at the sewing machine looks out, perhaps expectantly, as the woman on the bed looks out, apprehensively mayhap, toward whatever it is is coming.

Is it the doctor, in his long dark coat, with his little black bag?

And how long will it take this visitation to arrive?

TC said...

Ah, here he comes now, then, with the priest at his side... to sort things out for us.

Or something.