Revisiting the American “Walk Poem”: A.R. Ammons, Charles Olson, and Jonathan Williams
Working with Roger Gilbert’s notion of the “walk poem,” the chapter compares the poetry of A.R. Ammons, one of Gilbert’s models, to that of Charles Olson, arguing that there are more similarities between their respective treatments of walking than Gilbert allows for. It then considers Jonathan Williams, associated at different times with both Olson and Ammons, and suggests that Williams’s poetry uses walking in ways to which the term “walk poem” may not do justice. Williams’s sequence “A Week from the Big Pigeon to the Little Tennessee River” is analyzed as an attempt to construct an aesthetically, culturally, and intellectually agile use of the walk, with little support from an implicit generic framework such as is constituted by lyric in Ammons, or epic in Olson.