Poetry as News

Poet Ezra Pound said, “Poetry [or literature] is news that stays news,” and the doctor-poet of Paterson, New Jersey, William Carlos Williams, believed that the news worthwhile receiving can be found in poems. Following is an excerpt from a long poem that includes Williams’s well known lines about poetry and news.— PM

. . .

My heart rouses
		thinking to bring you news
				of something
that concerns you
		and concerns many men.  Look at
				what passes for the new.
You will not find it there but in
		despised poems.
				It is difficult
to get the news from poems
		yet men die miserably every day
				for lack
of what is found there.
		Hear me out
				for I too am concerned
and every man
		who wants to die at peace in his bed

—William Carlos Williams (1883–1963), from “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower”

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