Sophia and Philosophia


The Descent of Winter, published in Ezra Pound’s magazine The Exile in 1928, is an uneven experiment in unclassifiable writing. Williams began writing the diaristic entries aboard the SS Pennland “in the fall of 1927. He was returning from Europe, where he had left Florence Williams with their two sons, who were to attend school in Geneva.” (Imaginations, 231) The slim book alternates between spare, image driven poems composed of short lines and diaristic prose. Most entries are titled only with the dates of their composition. In aesthetics, Williams always concerned himself with form. The variety of styles present in The Descent of Winter can be seen as an extended experiment to find the form or forms of writing best suited to modernity and, for the meandering way in which the styles are linked together, a formalist’s representation of surrealism.


Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963; Art, Modern