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Blog Watch: "Wendell Berry and William Carlos Williams"

Wendell writes an impressive critical analysis of the writing of William Carlos Williams. Honoring Williams' commitment to his own local community, Berry praises his efforts to find a language that expresses Rutherford, New Jersey and the people and things of that locale.  At the time Williams was writing, New Jersey was considered "provincial."  Most of his poetry peers traveled and lived in Europe.

As a doctor, he was of use to his community and as a poet, he sought to be of use to Rutherford and America. Instead of separating himself, becoming academic or writing in the classic forms with meter and rhyme, Williams had the courage to inhabit his own place in the world of writing. Berry borrows the ecological term "local adaption" to express the effort to connect oneself to place.  This is the goal of the writer, to find the right relation to the land and community where he or she lives; Berry contrasts this with the focus on self or autonomy in the phrase "identity crisis." 



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