ABSTRACT

This article argues that Williams is fascinated with waste. As a result, he finds both inspiration and aesthetic material among the waste he claims to reject. In turn, this article uses dumpster diving as a hermeneutic for analyzing Williams’s writing, which foregrounds forms of trash to dirty the modernist canon and highlight environmental issues. The material history of Williams’s New Jersey landscape is discussed—namely, the infamous detritus of the Meadowlands—and its influence on Williams’s works. To conclude, the concept of litterality, or the intersection of real, mimetic, and formal forms of waste is taken up to unpack the related notion of the waste commons.

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