Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (poem)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus is an ecphrastic poem by the 20th-century American poet William Carlos Williams that was written in response to Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, traditionally attributed to Pieter Bruegel. Williams first published the poem as part of a sequence in The Hudson Review in 1960, subsequently using the sequence as the basis for his final book, Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems, published in 1962.

The poem, as indicated by the title, touches upon the Greek tragedy of Icarus, the story in which Icarus, the son of Daedalus, took light from Crete, where he and his father were trapped in exile, wearing wings made from wax and feathers. Icarus, disregarding his father's wishes that he not fly too close to the sun, did just that and melted his way to a feathery demise, drowning in the sea. This subject—and Bruegel's painting—are also treated by another Modernist poet, W. H. Auden, in "Musee Des Beaux Arts".





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