'The Mason Williams Reading Matter,' phenomenal poetry from 1969

Inside this plain covered, weathered old paperback is something that I think might approach late sixties period poetry perfection. I was shocked into a state of joyful awe when I first read The Mason Williams Reading Matter.

This is a stream-of-consciousness tour de force. Doodles, photographs, poems, anecdotes, short stories and odd items coat the pages of this mind-bendingly awesome work.

Mason Williams is best known as a composer and guitarist. His most famous track is a long time favorite, Classical Gas. Williams worked as a comedian and writer for the Smothers Brothers and had some very strong feelings about CBS's censorship of the show. His challenges and feelings about those events show up in both this book of poetry and another that I've barely started, Flavors.

I do not think any single excerpt can possibly demonstrate what you'll find in Williams' poetry. This was a favorite, however.


Come to me
Do not hesitate
I am not funky

Please be mine
Let our hearts entwingle
Like honeysucker

Jump around me
Scuff my boots
Fingerpoke at me

Skippy-toe by
With owl-growls
And Fa-la-la's

Love with me
All your grits
As I love you

Williams' stories about how to enjoy crackers, his cars, photographs of crazy signs and odd observations all stack up to give you a wonderful feel for the world as he sees it.

I've instantly become a huge fan. He recorded tracks around a number of the poems published. A youtube clip of him on the Smothers Brothers show performing one is below. I plan to find and listen to them all soon. I've also seen excerpts of his poems like "Them Toad Suckers" in our comments, on occasion, so I suspect our readers know a lot about Williams and these works.

I had no idea these incredible books existed and I'm thrilled to have found them.

The Mason Williams Reading Matter by Mason Williams