My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March 25-26, 2017: Crowd-sourced Spring

[As spring gets ready to spring, this week’s series has focused on the season in American culture. This crowd-sourced post is drawn from the responses and spring connections of fellow AmericanStudiers. Add your bloomin’ thoughts, please!]
Following up Monday’s post on Williams and Eliot, Wade Linebaugh writes, "I've been fascinated by the contrast between these two poems for a while and I LOVE reading them together. For me--and especially because The Waste Land hits first and makes such a significant splash--I often read the two as warring over language and culture itself and especially the American idiom. For Eliot, so much of him doing the writer's work of 'shoring the fragments against his ruins' always reads to me as a heroic stance he considers himself uniquely set for. His deep and allusive writing is a way of mobilizing the history of language and writing as a way to /craft/ something to stand in opposition to bankrupt or entropic modern culture. I read Williams, by contrast, as willing to see something that opposes entropy springing up. For the browns and lifelessness in "Spring and All" there's also the wildcarrot leaf and that fantastic awakening of the roots in the final line. And knowing Williams's imagery and taste for 'the american grain,' I always see a kind of faith in his version of Spring.

Anyway, that's just me. I always see a conflict about the culture they see around them, partly because Eliot is so situated in Europe and matches that with such densely allusive verse, and Williams is so powerfully American and relies on a set of poetic imagery to match. Neither sees anything entirely bankrupt, I agree, but Eliot sees a world he has to fight to make meaning in. Williams sees the perennial return of organic life, which always just manages to do its thing on its own...even when it's March and the snow feels endless and you can't even imagine how the trees around going to manage to push out buds. At any rate I feel myself pulled powerfully by both of them at different times."
Andrew McGregor Tweets, “It’s not Spring without a reading of Casey at the Bat!”
Melanie Newport Tweets, “I keep coming back to this very enjoyable cartoon.”
Olivia Lucier writes, “When I was a kid my mom read me Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. I always liked the illustrations. Very spring like! Although not a classic novel. Still a spring story!
Floyd Cheung shares “Toshio Mori’s story ‘Lil’ Yokohama.”
Rob LeBlanc writes, “I would share the unabashed mid-1960s pop-rock enthusiasm of Gary Lewis and the Playboys' ‘Green Grass.’”
Natalie Chase notes, “With Easter right around the corner I can't help but think of the very opening chapter of Love Medicine...‘The World's Greatest Fisherman!’”
And finally, Nancy Caronia shares that “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is my choice for cultural critic of 2017. Here's a new piece he wrote on Get Out.” Jeff Renye adds, “Kareem is a member of the Baker Street Irregulars. Interesting fella.”
Next series starts Monday,
PS. What do you think? Other spring connections or contexts you’d share?

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