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By Paul Mariani

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Was the book a series of discrete lyrics as well as a single poetic sequence as Warren has claimed for it? And how treat a volume that had what I still feel are some weak poems co-existing with some very strong work? It has therefore been necessary to add an extended coda to this essay in order to take a longer perspective on Warren's brilliant achievement. There are, of course, still a number of poets and critics reviewing Warren's work who feel that these late poems are a falling off from Warren's best work and that he has published entirely too much poetry in the last ten years.

Thus began a friendship, carried on sporadically by letter and with an occasional visit here in western Massachusetts or in New York City. I read closely everything of Montague's I could get my hands on, some of it in manuscript. And while "Fretwork in Stone Tracery" is a review of two volumes of Montague's poetry published in the mid to late 1970s, I have continued my interest in Montague with a monograph on the poet written for the Dictionary of Literary Biography that coversinsofar as an essay can do such a thingMontague's entire career to date.

But Williams was also a part of the American and international avant garde, a friend of Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, E. E. Cummings, H. , Marianne Moore, Ford Madox Ford, a sometime antagonist or protagonist of Gertrude Stein, T. S. Eliot, Hart Crane, H. L. Mencken, and Wyndham Lewis, an associate of such painters as Marcel Duchamp, Charles Scheeler, Charles Demuth, Pavel Tchelitchev, a father figure for writers as different from each other as were Louis Zukofsky, George Oppen, Charles Reznikoff, John Sanford, Theodore Roethke, Robert Lowell, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, Gary Snyder, Phillip Whalen, Charles Tomlinson, John Montague, Thomas Kinsella, Amamu Amiri Baraka, Robert Coles, Tom Coles, andfinallya commanding presence to literally hundreds of other writers, critics, and artists, many of whom Williams never even met.

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