Saturday, September 24, 2011

Allen Reads William Carlos Williams (ASV #17)

Voices and Visions was a 13-part educational t.v. series (13 t.v. programs), produced in 1988 by the New York Center For Visual History and airing that year on public television. The programs attempted to explore, as they put it, "through interviews, archival footage, and readings, the life and works of some of America's greatest poets"..."Each of the thirteen 60-minute documentaries focuses on a different American poet and attempts to present a biographical picture of the poets' life and insight into the poetry they created".
The poets who were spotlighted included Walt Whitman (Allen appears in that one too), Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Wallace Stevens, T.S.Eliot, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore - and, most interesting for Allen, Hart Crane, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams.

The episode on Williams (from which the brief clip above is excerpted), alongside all the other episodes, may be viewed in their entirety here on The Annenberg Learner Center website.

The clip begins with James Laughlin of New Directions,Williams’ friend and publisher, recalling Williams. This is followed by (audio only) Allen, sensitively reading from Williams' classic 1923 volume Spring and All (recently re-published, by New Directions, in an elegant facsimile edition).

For more of Allen on Williams, see, for example here.

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