“We talk American; we don’t talk English.”
– William Carlos Williams
I wish that MarzÃ¡n had positioned his afterword into a foreword because it would have made some of the positions he takes regarding Williamsâ€™ use of his family history, language and his own identity as an American (no Spanish, Latin or other identifier needed) a bit more digestible to me.
In the end, I am not buying into MarzÃ¡nâ€™s stance that a war was raging within Williams for a place closer to the hot, exotic, sexualized Latin other and that war can be seen in his text. I will fully admit not to be a William Carlos Williams scholar, so my opinion is lacking in that regard, but I am a good listener/reader of poetry and I have a good sense of fracture and/or suture occurring in multi-lingual work.
Working strictly from the evidence that MarzÃ¡n presents, I would say that Williams is not so much trying to run and meet his wild Spanish self but seeking to blend those languages and experiences to perfect a purely American product (Yes, I am modifying Williamsâ€™ own line).
I would recommend this book only to hardcore poetry language lovers with a mild recommendation to poets looking for a good read. For those just looking for a good poetry fix, I would say read more William Carlos Williams.