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Poem (As the cat)

William Carlos Williams

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WCW Stinks
Added by: Blah
I have to agree with the criticisms of WCW. I don't understand how this is considered "deep" and "meaningful". It's a poem about a cat stepping into a pot, and there's nothing more to it than that. Anyone could string together some lines about everyday life, but I don't consider that the work of a true literary genius. I'm sorry, but this just doesn't cut it. Half of the reason why WCW is hyped up so much is probably due to the meaning that people insert in his otherwise dull, talentless attempts at poetry.
to paul
Added by: bobby mcgee
when did poetry need to be meaningful and deep? it's a form of art, and it can be shallow and meaningless, but it can still be enjoyed because it's beautiful. your poem, in my eyes, isn't beautiful, it's a disgusting attempt to make yourself sound like you have real criticism of the work, when all you really have is undeveloped cynicism. and as to originality, yeah, you could write a poem like it- but you didn't! that's like looking at pollock and saying it's not good because you could do it too, but the point is, you didn't, and he did. i agree with biagetti, maybe instead of spending your time commenting on just how stupid you think this poem is, maybe you should just move on to poems that you do feel are worth your while- by the way, you do have a filter- your discretion, and if you don't enjoy his poems, don't read them
Added by: Jake S.
I like WCW's poems. How he takes some small occurance and describes it in great detail to help you visualize what is happening. For instance, the simple action of a cat walking into a flowerpot. He decribes it well enough that you can picture it in your mind using whatever kind of cat or pot you want. His works help me appreiciate the simple and small things in life.
to paul
Added by: josh
shouldn't "rhinocerus hide" be hyphenated in that context?
looking into Poem
Added by: Mallory
I'm not generally a huge fan of poetry, and to be quite honest, the only reason I'm on this site is because I'm writing a paper for a lit. analysis class, but I had to stop and give my two cents. WCW's line breaks really add to his poem. It demonstrates how awkward the cat is climbing over top of things, and how carefully it's trying to be not to knock something over. The line breaks represent slight pauses that the cat might be making when it tries to maneuver around things.
Added by: cp
Sameul Biagetti, there are many other versions of Shakespeare's Hamlet. It is probable that he wrote it from the basis of someone else's earlier play.
Added by: Wm.
The great thing about poetry: it will remain the same as you change.
I too went through a phase in which only the most difficult poets appealed to me -- Eliot, Ashberry, and the like -- and a "pop hit" like "Poem" was revealed to be shallow by my great discerning mind. I was in my twenties and apt to quote Roland Barthes myself.
But it's nice to reapproach this little poem for what it is. And if you want to criticize WCW, I suggest you not base it on the most anthologized lines of his career. Start with "Paterson," his epic.
AND for the record, I'd be happy to have the poet be my doctor; William Carlos Williams was a surgeon, and the brief moments he captures reflect the slivers of time he actually had at the typewriter.
The hamlet question
Added by: Alphonse
Does any one else think it is significant that what's his name was able to do such a flawless imitation of WCW's poem, whereas, contrary to Biagatti's assertion that "anyone can transcribe Hamlet given a pen and time" no one has? And Im not referring to plot, but the emotional depth and grammatical sophistication of the sentences. Shakespeare was truly great. WCW was just the poetry world's spokesman for the modern claim that art can be anything you say it is.
Added by: Demosthenes
Actually, most of Shakespeare's plays had derivative plots. Shakespeare's uniqueness lies in his use of language--that is, the story existed before he wrote it, but he wrote it better.

As for Paul, I think it's important to note that people have differing opinions, even if they choose to state their opinions boorishly. That said, WCW is a master of the use of imagery in poetry. His poems are concise, beautiful, vivid snapshots of action, a still-life of the world as he perceived it.

Bring to the poetry what you will. Yes, this is just a poem about a cat--and Hamlet's just the story of a deposed Prince of Denmark, and the Red Wheelbarrow is really just about a red wheelbarrow near the chicken coop.

But Paul has tried this particular plum, and he found it wasn't to his liking. He decided to leave a message about how cold it was--though I daresay he didn't find it particularly sweet.
Added by: Ana
Jesus... are you here to fight eachother or to say what you think and make of th poem?
You don't have to be offended if someone does not see the beauty or the uglyness in it. As one poet once said: "When the poet writes the words on the paper, the poem is no longer his possession." We can and we do all have different opinnions so stop makig such a big deal out of it!
Personally, I think that the WCW's absence of the poetic diction is welcome in this poem, as he tries to make thepoem as natural (as the cat?) as it can get. Spontaneous, momentairly, almost a still-life painting. He is known for making poems up on the spot, you know. I also think that the enjambment and caesura force the reader to slow down. Can't you feel the peacefulness, smooth movements and the graceful presence of the cat? Yes, I'm Williams' fan. ;)

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