William Carlos Williams





Brief an Harriet Monroe



131 W. Passaic Ave., Rutherford, N. J.
March 5, 1913


I mean that perhaps it is a law that between the producer and the exposer of verse there must inevitably exist a contest. The poet comes forward assailing the trite and the established, while the editor is to shear off all roughness and extravagance. It startled me when I realized that this is perhaps inevitable.

Now, that was not my view of the function of Poetry at all. My option was dependent on this: most current verse is dead from the point of view of art (I enclose some doggerel showing one of the reasons why). Now life is above all things else at any moment [24] subversive of live as it was the moment before – always new, irregular. Verse to be alive must have infused into it something of the same order, some tincture of disestablishment, something in the nature of an impalpable revolution, an ethereal reversal, let me say. I am speaking of modern verse.

Poetry I saw accepting verse of this kind: that is, verse with perhaps nothing else in it but life – this alone regardless of possible imperfections, for no new thing comes through perfect. In the same way the Impressionists had to be accepted for the sake of art's very life – in spite of bad drawing.






The Selected Letters of William Carlos Williams.
Edited with an introduction by John C. Thirlwall.
New York: McDowell, Obolensky 1957, S. 23-25.

Unser Auszug: S. 23-24.

Die Textwiedergabe erfolgt nach dem ersten Druck (Editionsrichtlinien).





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Lyriktheorie » R. Brandmeyer