“We talk American; we don’t talk English.”
– William Carlos Williams
I wish that Marzán had positioned his afterword into a foreword because it would have made some of the positions he takes regarding Williams’ 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 Marzán’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 Marzán 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 Williams’ 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.