Winter 1939 • Vol. I No. 1 Book ReviewsJanuary 1, 1939 |

Poetry of Feeling

THE COMPLETE COLLECTED POEMS OF WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS, 1906-1938. New Directions. $3.00 W. C. Williams, in his view of life and of poetry, is an uncompromising romantic. He believes in the surrender to feeling and to instinct as the only way to wisdom and to art: "The Trees” is one of his many explicit statements of this notion. He believes that art is the product of a character which is "automatically first-rate” (Blues for May, 1929). Such a character would have, of course, no need for ideas and no awareness of them; indeed, one may ask whether he would display any consciousness whatever. In any event, Dr. Williams distrusts all ideas and seeks value as far as may be in the concrete: in the poem called "Paterson” he reiterates the phrase "no ideas but in things.” And he distrusts the entire range of feeling which is immediately motivated by ideas, for he is in no position to distinguish good ideas from bad, and hence, in this realm, sound feelings from false. In "A Po

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