The Poetics of Re-assemblage: William Carlos Williams

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William Carlos Williams remains best know for his short poems describing wheelbarrows and plums and slippers, for instance. The long poem with which he concluded his career, however, derives from a very different aesthetic, one which integrates lyric fragments with bits and pieces of letters, newspaper articles, paragraphs from history, etc. Paterson can thus be conceived as an assemblage, productively thought of in relation to the visual and plastic arts (the work of Robert Rauschenberg, say) and current assemblage theory in the social sciences. How does this change our understanding of the poem, and how does it change our understanding of assemblage as such?