Poetry Makes Me Feel Smart and (sometimes) WordPress Makes Me Feel Dumb

Tonight a little Pound but mostly William Carlos Williams. Those tiny little poems. Why are they significant? My professor and his panel of TA’s up at the University of Pennsylvania talk about  Between Walls. I wanted to print the poem exactly like it is supposed to look on the page but WordPress won’t let me. What follows is as close as I can get…at least you can see the words on each line and the line breaks. Sorry. Bad WordPress.

Between Walls

the back wings                                                                                                                         of the

hospital where                                                                                                                       nothing

will grow lie                                                                                                                    cinders

in which shine                                                                                                                      the broken

pieces of a green                                                                                                    bottle

Why would listening to smart people ponder and probe this seemingly insignificant thing for 20 minutes or so make me feel smart? Because I have to listen. And then I have to think if what they are thinking, saying, questioning makes sense to me. I feel smart when I do that—think about something. Instead of just letting the words of the TV or even a book wash over me or through me. It’s the stopping to think and question a new subject in my life that makes me feel…if not smart…then like I could be if I just tried harder.

What strikes me as important about Between Walls is the absolutely ordinariness of the topic, the image (we’re still with the imagist movement here I believe). I am too new to any study of poetry to know this but I believe using the ugly, the ordinary, the mundane, the imperfect as the subject of a poem was the new thing at the time. In opposition to the romanticism and beautification of the past.

Here is the new scene worthy of a poem…back of a hospital, concrete, cinders, broken glass. Green broken glass in the drabness. Sharp image. Some shine. Some color. Not just barren and ugly.

I like that so much. It is really where I want my photography to go.

Maybe I don’t feel smart exactly. But curious. Very curious. Which is almost the same thing.

Here’s my picture of ordinariness today. Colorful ordinariness, but still just paint splattered wall and floor, a used tissue, tip of my favorite shoe and a random building  thing.


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