I guess when most people think of Tennessee Williams, they think of the plays he wrote, like “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” or “The Glass Menagerie” or even “A Streetcar Named Desire” – all great movies , and plays. But he wrote other stories and a novel, “Mrs. Stone’s Roman Spring,” among other things. But he was also a poet, and a good one, and in his book “In the Winter of the Cities”, 1956, I’m not sure if you can find a copy today, his poetry is worth reading. He has good form, style and wit; even some ideas to share, and a touch of wisdom. It is quite descriptive and seems to follow modernism. Being a gay writer, in the 1950’s he’s a bit sneaky in the way he produces his romances, he’s led to believe the opposite of who he is, but he exposes himself a bit. He has long poems, short poems, poems that make you think like a poem should, and some have an effect, in the sense that they can torment you.
There are a number of good writers from the past (like Tennessee), who first wrote poetry before going on to bigger things, felt like it, and some were good and some not so good. Faulkner wrote two books of poetry, it really was a disaster, I have them both, and I just shouldn’t have published them. Hemingway, he published some small books on poetry, he is next to Ginsberg with his style, or ethics when he writes poetry, it is more of a liberation for him, a therapy, you could say. He is not good at all. Robert Howard, who wrote many books and stories, was a great poet and loved art, but he didn’t make any money from it, so he kept the he-man series from him.
Some of the great poets of today, like Robert Bly and Donald Hall, I don’t need to say much, they are good and have been for a long time. But Tennessee fits into the list of unknown poets, so if you get a chance to read his poetry, you might be doing yourself a favor.