It is diffucult…
to read now
how it was then
The Great War is barely in the background. The fatal flu pandemic fills the void, concentrating on the young and healthy. This weird little book is brought into the world the same month as the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler’s first major drive to seize control. Among artists and writers, the urge for renewal is gaining ground in the aftermath of monstrous destruction, in the bud of worse to come. It is boggling that so much hearty artistic innovation has commenced to proliferate and thrive. Do or die. Those who can, do. Even the wreckage of Europe is tempting to the young, contrary, creative, and restless. One American writer stays put, finishes school, starts a medical practice. One American writer sticks around to catch the babies.
William Carlos Williams wrote this in 1923, meaning that the establishment ignored the obvious and instead they gave Hitler another sixteen years to assemble his death machine. The poet already knew what needed to be done – globally and locally. You know what happened globally. In Paterson, NJ, Dr. Williams went on to catch some 40,000 babies and to compose some of America’s most beautiful and most enduring poems.
* The two most famous sections of Spring and All are poems I and XXII. The former, which opens “By the road to the contagious hospital”, is commonly known by the title “Spring and All”, and the latter is generally known as “The Red Wheelbarrow”. – Wikipedia
(Ed. note: Wikipedia don’t know that a concluding punctuation mark belongs inside the end quotes, but they are much more thorough and determined researchers than us, so we let it go!)