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Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: February 03, 2005 01:06PM

Something makes me think that, like the red wheel barrow, Williams is describing a painting (ekphrasis?) in this one. True or false?


Nantucket


Flowers through the window
lavender and yellow

changed by white curtains
Smell of cleanliness

Sunshine of late afternoon
On the glass tray

a glass pitcher, the tumbler
turned down, by which

a key is lying And the
immaculate white bed

--William Carlos Williams


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: February 03, 2005 02:07PM

false


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: joseph r. torelli (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: February 03, 2005 05:03PM

Hugh:

Were it not for "the smell of cleanliness," I think this could be considered ekphrasis. That line leads me to believe the poet is describing something "real."

JoeT


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: Jean-Paul (---.nt.net)
Date: February 09, 2005 12:29AM

What is ekphrasis?

"I "Love Summer more than I hate Winter"


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: February 09, 2005 12:51PM

"ekphrasis (or ecphrasis): an essentially rhetorical device in which an object formed in one art becomes the matter for another"

(from on-line Dictionary of the History of Ideas)


WCW has written a number of poems about paintings, but I think they're all explicitly ekphrastic, e.g., the one that begins: "In Bruegel's great painting..."


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.ne)
Date: February 09, 2005 03:14PM

Just what I am thinking, but trying to isolate the particular work(s) WCW may have had in mind is the rub.

[tinyurl.com] />
It has also been claimed that Williams wrote the Red Wheel Barrow one from a scene he saw outside a window when he (as a doctor) was treating a patient on a farm. But, given the fact that Williams wrote so many other ekphrastic poems, it seems possible to me that these other two (including Nantucket, that is) might have the same type of origin.

For other examples of Williams (and many more), see for example:

[tinyurl.com]


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: February 09, 2005 09:43PM

Hugh,

In twenty books on Williams' poems, I found only one article relating ekphrasis to "Nantucket." I don't know if this helps your thinking any.

Peter

Attachment for educational purposes only.



Post Edited (02-10-05 00:24)


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: February 09, 2005 09:46PM

Hugh,

Sorry, had to proof my copy.

Peter

This is from Christopher Collins, "The Moving Eye in Williams' Earlier Poetry," in William Carlos Williams: Man and Poet, ed Carroll R. Terrell (National Poetry Foundation: University of Maine at Orono, 1983).

I don't know how much of a grain of salt we need to take with this, but it does seem to try to tie ekphrasis to physical and psychological activity in the reader.

PNSZ



Post Edited (02-10-05 00:24)


Attachments: WCW 'Nantucket'.jpg (220.5KB)   WCW Nantucket 2.jpg (210KB)   WCW Nantucket 3.jpg (223.2KB)  
Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: February 09, 2005 11:05PM

Yikes, they are pictures of WORDS !

See, this is the type of background pic someone would use and type their own ramblings atop it if we allow such shenanagins


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: February 09, 2005 11:06PM

Not really Johnny, nobody, sans the good doctor, would do that.

But if anyone is interested they should go to the "view" heading on their browser and click "full page" to get a better look at Peter's pages.


Les


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: February 09, 2005 11:40PM

Thanks for assisting, Les. And, yes, I like a good palimsest after breakfast, thank you.

Peter



Post Edited (02-10-05 13:07)


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: February 09, 2005 11:42PM

At least without a little synaesthesis, I think.


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.ne)
Date: February 10, 2005 10:48AM

Great scans, Peter. Your machine must be of high quality. Although the subject seemed to be 'saccadic' eye shifts, the discussion went directly to those ekphrastic-type poems of Williams. I was able to find almost all the others mentioned, and found them very interesting reading. Still leaves the question about the possible origin of Nantucket and Wheelbarrow unanswered, but points to a possible 'painting with words' solution as to why they were written.

Twenty books on WCW? Wow, nice collection! I don't suppose any of them offer the separate 'doctor Williams visiting patient farmer' possibility for Wheelbarrow?


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: February 10, 2005 12:25PM

Hugh,

Glad it was of some interest. They didn't cross reference to ekphrasis in any of the books I checked. Actually, I dropped by the main library yesterday and went through the stacks because your question had peaked my curiousity, so I don't exactly have the books on hand. If I get to the library in the near future, I'll look through on 'the red wheelbarrow' poem.

It was a pleasure doing a little hands-on research for a change -- rifling though texts, getting distracted my interesting items, acting like a grad student for an hour or so. It was a beautiful, warm winter day here in San Franciso and the juices were really flowing in the ole limbs.


Catch you later.

Peter


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: February 10, 2005 01:15PM

Hugh --

Zwicky, Fay. "Seeing and Recording a Local Ambience," Westerly, 1 (1980), 91-96.

Zwicky traces, for an Australian audience, a quick capsulization of the initial neglect and then development, in this century, of an American poetry "forge[d in] an indigenous language [and] divorced from the concerns of history and traditional learning that preoccupied Pound and Eliot." She focuses on Ws as exemplar of "The colloquial strain," asserting that he "has had (for better and worse) a great impact on contemporary American and Australian poetry." Her text for illustrating his "SEEING AND RECORDING" is "The Red Wheel-barrow" [sic], which she analyzes and compares to the Australian poet William Hart Smith's "Kangaroo-Paw." [emphasis added}. in C.F. Terrell WCW: Man and Poet bib.



Post Edited (02-10-05 12:16)


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.ne)
Date: February 10, 2005 02:41PM

Interesting, thanks again. For where I got the doctor/patient idea, see the post by David Mason on the link below. It's a long thread, which you may find of value as well, but do a Find for 'housecall' for the relevant part.

[www.ablemuse.com]


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: Jean-Paul (---.nt.net)
Date: February 10, 2005 11:00PM

Could the same mechanism (ekphrasis) be used to describe someone by extolling, let's say...... a tree's attributes?

"I "Love Summer more than I hate Winter"


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: February 11, 2005 04:25AM

Jean-Paul,

Originally, for the Greeks, I've read, that is true. It seems to have devloped over the centuries to mean more like using one art to refer to anohte, a poem about a painting, Sculpture that is a rsponse to a pielce ofd musicd, interpreting it in part through another medium. There are other definitions of it though. People have thought about this for a long time.


Peter


Re: Nantucket - WCW
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: February 11, 2005 04:46PM

for D. Mason:

'a thing that exists to make us ask why it exists.' -- seems like a decent tentative reply to the question: what is a . . . human being? -- for ten points.

Peter



Post Edited (02-12-05 23:12)




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