“THE STATE HATES THE POET AND THE POEM AND SUPPRESSES THEM WHEN IT CAN. ALL ARTISTS, ESPECIALLY POETS SINCE THEY ARE THE ONLY ARTISTS WHO ARE ARTICULATE, ARE REVOLUTIONISTS.”
WILLIAMS, WILLIAM CARLOS. (1883-1963). American physician and writer; author of verse, essays, novels and short stories; won 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Pictures of Breughel. Good Typed Letter Signed, “William [or Williams]”. Two pages, quarto. August 4, 51. To “Dear Uhlman”. Williams writes:
“Just a few words. I am nearly well now. My speech is still slightly affected and I tire easily but I can type (as you see) so that my life as a writer can go on as before. Your important letter in which you speak of the significance of the symbol in the poem, the image, as the mark of the unknown, the thing, surrounded by atmosphere, something not to be broken down, not to be analysed[sic], interests me greatly. The State lasts only so long as we live, the poem continues to live after the state has died. Therefore the state hates the poet and the poem and suppresses them when it can. All artists, especially poets since they are the only artists who are articulate, are revolutionists. But this is not a good time for them. I know about R.M. Gerhardt and “Fragmente”. I gave him permission to use anything of mine he wanted to translate or print. I am surprised that he used the poem you mention but I think I understand why: it is the sort of poem of which his theory approves, it is a fragment. And in a world that is only made up of fragments, nothing whole, I approve of his theory. Thank you for dedicating you poem “Urteil” to me, the trees are an image which belong, also, to the Unknown. The columns of a Gothic Cathedral were oak trees, the capitols were decorated with their leaves. Wouldn’t it be amusing to make a modern temple of Stalin lying on his back or Lenin, his legs together his arms outstretched. His sex would be symbolized in the transept, his head would be the nave. His features in reverse would form the roof and his feet sticking up would be the towers. I don’t understand your last stanza:
Deine Liebe zum Mord an den Baumen
und deine Blindheit vor der verwandlung
von weizen in Schusse.
Beleidigte sonnen haben eurem Schlarf
und das Gras verachtet eure Schritte.
Why does the grass despise my paces? Thank you. William(s)”.