William Carlos Williams Chair
Landscape with the fall of Icarus
Completed with Patrick Burke

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling

the edge of the sea
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings’ wax

off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning


"No listing of Williams’s work can do more than suggest the range, interest, and experimentation of his writing in the forms of fiction, drama, poetry, epic, essay, and sketch. Criticism suggests that he is more properly a postmodernist than a modernist, for Williams embodied the spirit of adventure and quest that was hardly anticipated in the weary angst of modernism as it was then defined. As if he were listening continuously to Pound’s maxim, “Make it new,” Williams drew his life in America in his poems’ terse images: “a young horse with a green bed-quilt / on his withers shaking his head,” “A big young bareheaded woman / in an apron,” “Flowers through the window / lavender and yellow / changed by white curtains.” He presented these images unapologetically. His purpose was not to point a moral or teach a lesson; rather, he wanted his readers to see through his eyes the beauty of the real. He was content to rest with the assumption that the reader could duplicate Williams’s own sense of importance of red wheelbarrows and the green glass between hospital walls, and thereby dismiss the need for symbolism. As he said succinctly in Paterson, “no ideas but in things.”

Linda Wagner-Marti

Materials: laminated poplar, steel hex bolts, joint connectors

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