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Flesh over Granite

Flesh over Granite

Walt Whitman’s Embodied Presence in William Carlos Williams’s “History”

(p.33) Flesh over Granite
Affective Materialities
Karen Guendel
University Press of Florida

Karen Guendel locates in William Carlos Williams’s poetry a slippage between body and text, catalyzed by the poem’s aesthetic preference for stone over flesh. Such poetry, Guendel’s essay suggests, is bound up in textual erotics wherein the text and reader perform a bodily encounter that gives life to one and pleasure to the other. Such material poetics foreground an embodiment of human life in environmental terms, through its material residues—in the reader’s lips, the book itself, and the stone memorial objects that clutter museum halls.

Keywords:   Body and text, Textual erotics, William Carlos Williams

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