WCWs Vs. The Tea Party

Tinfish #20 Cover Art
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Last month, Susan M. Schultz, editor of Tinfish Press, posted a thoughtful piece at her Editor's Blog. In it she examines William Carlos Williams' In the American Grain and his attacks on the Puritans' fear and hatred of the new and the wild.

Provocatively, Schultz then connects Williams and the Puritans to our current political discourse, to the Tea Party movement and Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, to ethical issues of naming and seeing, and finally to creative writing pedagogy.

I'm glad I bookmarked it and came back to it this morning. Certainly worth reading. I recommend it to you.

Here's a teaser:
Against O'Donnell and her ilk, I hear Williams calling out the Puritans, making his argument over and again that American violence and American sexual repression are allied. Turn to the end of "Voyage of the Mayflower," and Williams turns O'Donnell against herself (again I blush): "What prevented the normal growth? Was it England, that northern strain, the soil they [Puritans] landed on? It was, of course, the whole weight of the wild continent that made their condition of mind advantageous, forcing it to reproduce its own likeness, and no more" (68). Not only did the Puritans refuse to generate new names for the places, the plants, the animals they encountered in the New World, according to Williams, they also refused to touch the place they entered. Their purity was a mark of their fear, and their purity condemned them to isolation and violence.