on 1 December 1999
This selection lives up to the usual standards of Penguin. A wide selection of poems shows just how far Williams could push Imagism. His ability to 'present rather than describe' (to paraphrase Pound) is refreshing, creating an apparently crisp, clear image. He consistently shows genuine delight in his subject (usually people or things that are in everyone's immediate environment) and his craft, often applying the observation of a visual artist. If you are looking for a more accessible place to start on a survey of Literary Modernism than Pound, Joyce, and Eliot, you may well have found it in this collection which exemplifies the clarity that a voice could have in the first half of the Twentieth Century. His shorter poems (of which there are many in this collection) are often deceptively simple: it seems at times like anyone could have written it. The beauty is that they couldn't.