This Is Just To Say We Like The Food in William Carlos Williams' Poetry

This Is Just To Say We Like The Food in William Carlos Williams' Poetry

Chris Phillips
Mar 13, 2008

Cut Plum by Duane Keiser

So much depends upon food and farm in our favorite poems by William Carlos Williams ...

Have you ever hoarded a bit of special cheese or the perfect heirloom tomato? But when you return to the kitchen ready to cook with your closely held ingredient, it's missing. Later, you find out that your mom, your love or your little brother got to your stockpile first and ate it all up.

We've so been there.

We get a little bit angry when that happens, but we also feel a sense of joy over picking something so delicious our family member couldn't wait to gobble it up ...

That's the emotion that comes up for us when we read William Carlos Williams' This Is Just To Say, a poem (or is it a note tacked to the fridge?) about plums gone missing. The speaker in the poem fesses up to eating the cold, sweet plums the cook was saving for breakfast. Is the plum-eater a bad guest or just an enthusiastic eater of in season produce?

With Easter and spring on their way, we're also thinking about Williams' The Red Wheelbarrow. This quick little poem reminds us of the round, transforming relationship between the works of people, animals and nature on the farm. Experts say this poem can be read as a reflection Dr. Williams' had after treating a sick girl. We wonder if it could also be read as a caution on the dangers of factory farming?

As our celebration of the Hungry Reader continues, tell us about your favorite food related poems. We'll get you started.

((Side Note: Fans of William Carlos Williams might be interested in the Charles Demuth exhibit at The Whitney. Demuth and Williams were friends.))

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