Subscribe: by Email | in Reader

Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams -- Kenneth Koch

Imagism is all very well, but...
(Poem #278) Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams
 I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
 I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
 and its wooden beams were so inviting.

 We laughed at the hollyhocks together
 and then I sprayed them with lye.
 Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.

 I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the
                                                         next ten years.
 The man who asked for it was shabby
 and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.

 Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.
 Forgive me. I was clumsy and
 I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!
-- Kenneth Koch
A brilliant takeoff on William Carlos Williams' 'This is Just to Say'[1] - I
still can't read it without laughing. Koch has the tone down perfectly - it
is tempting to say that he dislikes Imagism, and is trying to skewer it for
its [perceived] pretentiousness, but I feel he is laughing more with than at
the genre (see his comments about seriousness in the notes). Perhaps the
proper comparison is with Porter's 'Japanese Jokes'[2] - at first glance a
rather cutting parody, but nonetheless genuinely sympathetic to the form.

And finally I feel more than usually compelled to point out that all the
above is strictly my opinion - feel free to ignore it and simply enjoy the
poem for its very considerable merits.

- m.

[1] run just a few days ago - see poem #274

[2] poem #198


  Kenneth Koch lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University. He
  has published many volumes of poetry, most recently One Train and On the
  Great Atlantic Rainway, Selected poems 1950-1988 (both in 1994). Together
  they earned him the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 1995; in 1996 he received
  the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry awarded by the
  Library of Congress. His short plays, many of them produced off- and
  off-off-Broadway, are represented in a recent volume, The Gold Standard: A
  Book of Plays, also available in paperback. Also recently published is
  Making Your Own Days: The Pleasures of Reading and Writing Poetry.

  -- from the Poetry Center website,

For a more complete biography and bibliography, see
[broken link]

The Brtiannica has the following note:

  Both daily life and an exposure to French Surrealism helped inspire a
  group of New York poets, among them Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, James
  Schuyler, and John Ashbery. Whether O'Hara was jotting down a sequence of
  ordinary moments or paying tribute to film stars, his poems had a
  breathless immediacy that was distinctive and unique. Koch's comic voice
  swung effortlessly from the trivial to the fantastic. Strongly influenced
  by Wallace Stevens, Ashbery's ruminative poems can seem random,
  discursive, and enigmatic. Avoiding poetic colour, they do their work by
  suggestion and association, exploring the interface between experience and
        -- EB

To which the biography cited above adds

  The poetry of the New York School represented a shift away from the
  Confessional poets[3], a popular form of soul-baring poetry that the New
  York School found distasteful (see the Life Studies exhibit on this site
  for examples). Instead, their poems were cosmopolitan in spirit and
  displayed not only the influence of action painting, but of French
  Surrealism and European avant-gardism in general.
        -- [broken link]

[3] who are these Confessional poets anyway? See for a nice essay on
the topic, and poem #53 for
the one Confessional poem run on Minstrels

Links abound on the web; just feed "Kenneth Koch" into any decent search
engine. Here're a few nice ones: has
an interview with the poet; sample question:

  ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: I?ve been reading your poetry. Much of it is very
  funny, very playful and witty. It's not what many people expect poetry to
  be. There's this view that poetry should be kind of somber, isn't there?

  KENNETH KOCH: Oh, I suppose some people have that view. It's a confusion
  between seriousness and solemnity. The intention of my poetry is--I mean,
  I don't intend for my poetry to be mainly funny or satirical, but it seems
  to me that high spirits and sort of a comic view are part of being

[broken link] has a reading
of both Williams' poem and Koch's followup

92 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Sildenafil Citrate said...

I have heard a little bit about Kenneth Koch, but I have read a lot of William Carlos Williams's poetry and his style is unique, I would not be able to compare his work with this guy's

ugg coupons said...

This is one of the best blogs what i have ever read, it is impressed me very much, thank you for taking your time to sharing this, i want to share it with my friend, they must also love your words, thank you!

vigrx plus said...

penis enlargement, penis enlargement pills, male enhancement, male enhancement pills

Penis enlargement pills have been proven is the best way to make the penis bigger and effective to increase men’s sexual performance.vimax pills, vigrx plus, prosolution pills, maleextra

Generic Viagra said...

To live our sacred and indelible memories makes us think what we did with that nostalgic irreparable

Anonymous said...

buy vardenafil online low price
buy generic levitra online pharmacy

Anonymous said...

Jendela UPVC | Promo Diskon | Harga Tiket Pesawat | Social Bookmarking | Tiket Pesawat Murah | Tiket Pesawat Online

Kim Kardashian Bugil | wallpaper lucu | Ultrabook Notebook Tipis Harga Murah Terbaik | Info Terkini | Harga Notebook | Jasa Seo | Jasa Seo | apa seo | JASA SEO | Layanan Seo | Konsultan Seo | All about Behel atau Kawat Gigi manfaat,perawatan dan larangannya lengkap

I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic. It help me very much to solve some problems. Its opportunity are so fantastic and working style so speedy. I think it may be help all of you. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Pоst wгiting iѕ also a еxсitement,
if you know then уοu can write if not it іѕ difficult to wrіte.
my web page > how to get bigger boobs naturally

Space Matters Real Estates said...

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return. Plots for sale in Hyderabad
Plots for sale in Banjara Hills
Plots for sale in Jubilee Hills
Plots for sale in Manikonda
Plots for sale in Madhapur
Plots for sale in kondapur
Plots for sale in Gachibowli
Plots for sale in Kukatpally

Anonymous said...

Ι'm really enjoying the design and layout of your website. It's a very
eаsy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable
for me to сome here and visіt more oftеn.
Did уou hiгe out а designer to cгеatе your thеme?

Eхcерtional wоrk!

my page entertainment

Anonymous said...

What’s up I am from Australia, this time I am viewing this
cooking related video at this site, I am genuinely happy and learning
more from it. Thanks for sharing.

Here is my page:

Anonymous said...

Hey thіѕ іs κіnd of of off toрic but I was wanting
to know if blogs usе WҮSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code ωith HTML.
І'm starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Feel free to surf to my web page: massage days in Birmingham
my page: massage therapy in Birmingham

Anonymous said...

Now I am ready to do my breakfast, when having my
breakfast coming again to read further news.

my webpage

Anonymous said...

Hello there! Do you knоw if theу mаke anу pluginѕ to prоtect against hacκers?

I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've woгked hard on.

Аny reсοmmеndаtions?

Here is my websitе: Electric Scooter For Adults Price

Anonymous said...

Pretty! Thiѕ haѕ been an eхtremely wondеrful article.
Thank you for pгοvіding thiѕ infо.
Obtainable Ways to Acquire Tinnitus Remedy
Also see my web site > Obtainable Ways to Acquire Tinnitus Remedy

Anonymous said...

Mу sρouse and I ѕtumbleԁ over here
diffеrent ωebsite аnd thought I shοuld сheck thіngs out.
I like whаt I see so i am just folloωing уou.
Look forward to looking into youг web page repeаtеԁlу.

Havе a look at my ωeb-site how to save money at disney world
Also see my website > how to save money at disney world

Anonymous said...

It's a pity you don't have a donate buttοn! I'd without a doubt donate to this outstanding blog! I suppose for now i'll sеttle for
booκ-mаrking and adding your RSS feed tο my Google account.
I looκ forward to new updatеs anԁ ωill talk about this
blog with my Fасebook group. Chаt soοn!

Heгe іѕ my web pagе ::
grow taller

Anonymous said...

Hi thеre! I juѕt wanteԁ to asκ if you eνer have any ρroblеms ωith hackerѕ?
Mу last blοg (woгdρress) wаs hackeԁ
anԁ I ended uр lоѕing a few months
of hard work ԁue to no backuр. Do you have
any methods to prevent hаcκeгs?

Stop by mу ωеbsite: mesh for fire grate

Anonymous said...

Hеllo! This post could not be written any bеtter!
Reading this post reminds me of mу pгеvіous room mate!

He alwayѕ kept talking about thіs. I will forωard this article to him.
Faіrly certain he will have a goοd гead.
Thankѕ fοr sharing!

Stop by mу homeρage free ps three
Also see my webpage: fun

Anonymous said...

Wіth havin sо much cοntеnt do you ever run
into any issues οf рlagorism or copyгight
infringement? My site haѕ a lоt of сompletеly unіquе content I've either written myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any solutions to help reduce content from being ripped off? I'd definitelу appreciate it.

Feel fгеe to ѕuгf to mу wеb
pаge; acoustic guitar video lessons

Anonymous said...

Wondeгful ωebsite you have here but I was cuгious аbout if yοu
knew of any meѕsаge boards thаt cover thе ѕamе
topiсs talked abоut in thiѕ аrticle?

I'd really like to be a part of group where I can get comments from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Many thanks! Visit Website

Anonymous said...

May I simply say what a comfort to find somebody who genuinely understands
what they are discussing on the web. You certainly
realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
More and more people must read this and understand this side
of your story. It's surprising you aren't more popular since you certainly possess the gift.

Also visit my website; sale software

Anonymous said...

Superb blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers?
I'm hoping to start my own site soon but I'm a little lost on
everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option?
There are so many choices out there that I'm completely confused .. Any recommendations? Thanks a lot!

Here is my website :: graduate certificate

Anonymous said...

Hi! Ѕomeonе іn my Facebook grоup sharеԁ thiѕ wеbsite wіth uѕ so I camе tο loоk іt ovеr.

I'm definitely loving the information. I'm bookmarκing anԁ will be twеeting this to mу fοllоωeгs!
Supeгb blοg and outstanding deѕіgn.

Му ωebsite :: easiest way to lose belly fat

Anonymous said...

Aԁmiring the tіme аnd enеrgy you рut into your site anԁ in
depth information you offer. It's awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't
the same out of dаte rehasheԁ information. Fantaѕtic read!
I've bookmarked your site and I'm addіng your RSS fеeds to my Gоogle аccount.

Feel free tо visit my web pаgе get bigger boobs

Anonymous said...

І�m not that much of а online
readeг to be honest but your blogs гeаlly
nicе, kеep іt up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later on. Many thanks

Here is my web page; 24 hour Emergency Locksmiths in Solihull

Anonymous said...

Hello there! Would уou mind іf ӏ share yοur blog with my faсebook
grοup? Theгe's a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Thank you

Also visit my web page; brain fart

Anonymous said...

І do not know if it's just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering problems with your site. It appears as though some of the written text in your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This might be a issue with my internet browser because I'νe had
thіѕ happen pгеviouslу.

Feel freе to surf to my wеbѕite; how to get bigger boobs naturally

Anonymous said...

Gοod ԁay! Do уou κnoω іf thеу maκе аnу рlugins tο ѕafeguarԁ аgаinst hacκeгs?
ӏ'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I'vе woгkеԁ harԁ оn.
Any гecommendatiοns?

my page - easiest way to lose belly fat

polo outlet said...

Unknown said...

your blog is good and nice post. Electronic Products Suppliers | Electronic Media Internships | I learn something more challenging on distinct blogs everyday.

Mebel Jepara said...

Kami Toko Mebel Jati Jepara jual mebel harga murah asli Furniture Jepara yang tentunya dengan kualitas terbaik dan khas dengan ukiran mebel Tempat Tidur Jati katalog produk mebel kami banyak dan lebih dari ratusan hingga ribuan produk yang bisa anda cek disini Kamar Set Jati dengan harga yang relatif murah anda sudah bisa mendapatkan produk Kamar Set Jati Minimalis asli produk jati dari jepara, juga tersedia produk Gebyok Pintu Jati asli produk jati dari jepara, juga tersedia produk Kursi Tamu Jati adalah satu produk utama yang harus ada dalam satu hunia rumah kami sediakan dengan berbagai macam model Meja Makan Minimalis produk minimalis yang tentunya sangat elegant Kursi Tamu Jati Minimalis sampai dengan model yang mewah yang tentunya kemewahan dari produk kami beda dengan yang lain Kursi Tamu Jati Mewah produk modern berbahan baku jati yang tentunya sangat awet untuk anda peroleh untuk ditempatkan di rumah anda, semua itu anda bisa melihatnya di katalog produk Meja Makan Jati Minimalis asli karya toko jati Kamar Set Minimalis produk modern berbahan baku jati yang tentunya sangat awet untuk anda peroleh untuk ditempatkan di rumah anda, semua itu anda bisa melihatnya di katalog produk Mebel Jati untuk semua produk yang kami tawarkan semuanya kami tawarkan produk tersebut dengan harga Furniture Jepara

Set Tempat Tidur,
Jual Gazebo,
Gebyok Ukir,
Almari Pakaian,
Alamari Hias ruang Tamu,
Gebyok Jati,
Gazebo Jati,
Kursi Tamu Jati,
Kamar Set,
Kamar Set Anak,

kizi 4 said...

Great information I will tweet to my friends to get them to check it out. keep it up. Thanks for sharing!
pacman games | happy wheels games | little pony games | unblockedgames

lina sexshop said...

Obat Kuat

Thank you for sharing in this article

I can learn a lot and could also be a reference

I am happy to find your website and can join to comment

I think is very valuable to be able to read your writing, and on this occasion will I use for my reference source

Thank you so much for sharing, I hope you continue to write spirit next topic

>> Obat pembesar penis <<

Viagra said...

makasih informasinya..

Pembesar penis said...

thanks for the information, I wait for other information , greetings from us Obat pembesar penis

happy wheels said...

So funny :)) If I were the one who is apologised in the poem, I would never forgive :)) Cute. Thanks for posting
car games
racing games
play online games

Unknown said...

Cute poem. Thanks for sharing this article. It helps me much :) Please keep sharing us the newest information :)
happy wheels hacked | car games | racing games | game online

Anonymous said...

Seberat apapun beban masalah yang kamu hadapi saat ini, percayalah bahwa semua itu tidak pernah melebihi batas kemampuan kamu.

Lina Maja said...

Obat kuat

Thank you for sharing in this article
I can learn a lot and could also be a reference
I am happy to find your website and can join to comment
I think is very valuable to be able to read your writing, and on this occasion will I use for my reference source
Thank you so much for sharing, I hope you continue to write spirit next topic

Obat Pembesar penis - Good Man Herbal

Unknown said...

This is a great website. Good sparkling user interface and very informative blogs. I will be coming back in a bit, thanks for the great article. I have found it enormously useful. Clash of Kings download, Photo Grid Free, Douchebag Workout 2, Happy Wheels 4

ngocanh said...

Your blog posts are more interesting and impressive. I think there are many people like and visit it regularly, including me.I actually appreciate your own position and I will be sure to come back here.
facebook entrar l entrar facebook l entrar no facebook l entrar facebook direto l entrar facebook agora

games said...

This is very simple, but so effective! I love the design and I will definitely make one for myself:) Have a nice day

ภาษาอังกฤษ said...

90minup ข่าวกีฬา ฟุตบอล ผลบอล วิเคราะห์บอล พรีเมียร์ลีก ฟุตบอลไทย

John said...

One of the most irritating things we found about The Sims 4 when we previously began is the steady instructional exercise warnings.
Get latest the sims 4 parenthood cheats 2019

Golden Slot said...

Slotxo บริการ สล็อตออนไลน์ สล็อตxo แจกเครดิตฟรี พร้อม ทางเข้า slotxo เกมส์ใหม่กว่า 100 เกมส์ สมัคร slotxo ได้เลยตอนนี้ บริการ 24 ชั่วโมง.
สล็อตxo บนมือถือ
สมัคร slotxo
สมัคร slotxo รับโบนัสฟรี

superslot said...

One of the most irritating things we found about The Sims 4 when we superslot

fdsfsdd said...

صباغ الكويت افضل خدمة يحتاجها اهل الكويت فى الوقت الحالي حيث انه من النادر ان تجد صباغ بالكويت محترف ولكن اليوم فى موقع صباغ الكويت سوف تجد افضل صباغين وافضل ديكورات الكويت على احدث صيحه لعام 2021 مثل ورق جدران مودرن بالكويت  ويوجد لدينا تركيب باركية خشب بالكويت ومع ارتفاع الاسعار يمكنك ايضا تركيب بديل الرخام بالكويت وهناك موديلات جديده مثلا استيل الكويت  ناتي الى افضل صباغين بالكويت هنالك جنسيات مختلفة مثل صباغ مصري و صباغ باكستاني وايضا هنالك صباغ هندي جميع الصباغين على اعلى مستوى وبالاخص صباغ عراقي  ونقوم بتقديم الخدمات فى جميع مناطق الكويت مثل صباغ الجهراء  و صباغ مبارك الكبير  و صباغ حولي  و صباغ الفروانية بالاضافة الى صباغ العاصمة  و صباغ الاحمدي  جميع تلك الخدمات نقدمها بالاضافة الى صباغ وايضا صباغ بالكويت بالاضافة الى ارخص صباغ و اشطر صباغ و افضل صباغ ولدينا معلم صباغ يوجد لدينا افضل صباغ بالكويت

fdsfsdd said...

صباغ الكويت .. هل تبي صباغ شاطر ورخيص بالكويت ؟ هل تريد فني تركيب ورق جدران أو معلم جبس بورد أو تركيب باركيه؟ لا داعي للبحث كثيرا، نحن نوفر لك أفضل الفنيين في الكويت، خدمات صباغة و تركيب ورق جدران وباركيه وجبس بورد علي أعلي مستوي من الحرفية والمهارة، من خلال فنيين متميزين ومدربين، قادرين على تنفيذ أي تصميم يخطر ببالك، لدينا تصميمات بأفكار لا تنتهي، ديكورات مودرن عالمية.

لدينا أفضل صباغين بالكويت، جنسيات مختلفة، صباغ شاطر ورخيص، نوفر خدمة مميزة جدا بأقل الأسعار, يتميز الفنييون لدينا بالمهارة العالية والسرعة فى التنفيذ، لأننا نحرص على وقتك ونعرف قيمته، وأيضا نهتم جدا بأدق التفاصيل ولا نترك اي ثغرة فى عملنا، كل عمل نقوم به هو لوحة فنية نفتخر بضمها الي سجل أعمالنا.

Unknown said...

Visited my website For the Big win.

joker slot

Unknown said...

Visited my website 918kiss

scrdragon said...

Great!Use online slots game services to earn extra money.

Visited my website For the Big win. pussy888

Baccarat-789betting said...

Good article, I really like the content of this article. ทางเข้า sa gaming

Unknown said...

All are welcome to join Scrdragon, the 918Kiss online slot player site that plays the player in the 918Kiss player, the player does not play. You will have fun. Load 918Kiss to play in the player...Visited my website.

Unknown said...

Playing baccarat online has a variety of ways to place bets. Therefore, there are differences in payout rates as well. This means the amount multiplied by the profit from the bet itself. Visited my website. สูตร บา คา ร่า

Unknown said...

Great Article IoT Projects for Students

Deep Learning Projects for Final Year

JavaScript Training in Chennai

JavaScript Training in Chennai

The Angular Training covers a wide range of topics including Components, Angular Directives, Angular Services, Pipes, security fundamentals, Routing, and Angular programmability. The new Angular TRaining will lay the foundation you need to specialise in Single Page Application developer. Angular Training

Unknown said...

Casinos in Macau Casinos in Poipet Casinos in Las Vegas visited my website. pussy888

Packers And Movers Delhi said...

Get Shifting/Relocation Quotation from ###Packers and Movers Delhi. Packers and Movers Delhi 100% Affordable and Reliable ***Household Shifting Services. Compare Transportation Charges and Save Time, Verified and Trusted Packers and Movers in Delhi, Cheap and Safe Local, Domestic House Shifting @ Packers And Movers Delhi

mon said...

This is my first time visit to your blog and I am very interested in the articles that you serve. Provide enough knowledge for me. Thank you for sharing useful and don't forget, keep sharing useful info:

Post a Comment