Asphodel, That Greeny Flower and Other Love Poems
Author: William Carlos Williams
Publisher: New Directions (1994)
“Asphodel, That Greeny Flower,” first published when William Carlos Williams was seventy-two, forms the heart of this new selection of his love poems. Robert Lowell praised “Asphodel” for delivering “to us what was impossible, something that was poetry and beyond poetry.” Lyrical and moving, elegant and supple, it is charged with sheer musical pleasure. In addition to “Asphodel,” eleven other important love poems have been chosen from the whole range of Williams’ writing life––a life whose history of love is reviewed by Herbert Leibowitz in his incisive introduction. Leibowitz, editor of Parnassus: Poetry in Reviewmagazine and author of forthcoming critical biography of William Carlos Williams, considers “Asphodel” in the context of Williams’ singularly non-traditional love poetry, and distinguishes it as his “most eloquent and unorthodox love poem, a quest for ’abiding love’ in the gathering shadows of death.”
"[Asphodel, That Greeny Flower and Other Love Poems] celebrates unforgettably Williams' love for his wife Floss, (going) so far as to say, 'Death is not the end of it'...'Asphodel' stands impressively as the poet's personal credo, a late, long poem central to his entire work."
–World Literature Today