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William Carlos Williams[William_Carlos_Williams]


Oraş de reşedinţă: Rutheford, New Jersey
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Biografie William Carlos Williams

Pagina personală web William Carlos Williams

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Biografie William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams (September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963), also known as WCW, was an American poet closely associated with modernism and Imagism. He was also a pediatrician and general practitioner of medicine. Williams "worked harder at being a writer than he did at being a physician," wrote biographer Linda Wagner-Martin; but during his long lifetime, Williams excelled at both.

Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, a community near the city of Paterson.[1] His father was an English immigrant, and his mother was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He attended a public school in Rutherford until 1896, then was sent to study at Château de Lancy near Geneva, Switzerland, the Lycée Condorcet in Paris, France, for two years and Horace Mann School in New York City. Then, in 1902, he entered the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. During his time at Penn, Williams became friends with Ezra Pound, Hilda Doolittle (best known as H.D.) and the painter Charles Demuth. These friendships influenced his growth and passion for poetry. He received his M.D. in 1906 and spent the next four years in internships in New York City and in travel and postgraduate studies abroad (e.g., at the University of Leipzig where he studied pediatrics). His famous poem, "Between Walls" was published then:

the back wings of the

hospital where nothing

will grow lie cinders

In which shine the broken

pieces of a green bottle

He returned to Rutherford in 1910 and began his medical practice, which lasted until 1951. Most of his patients knew little if anything of his writings; instead they viewed him as a doctor who helped deliver their children into the world. It was estimated that Williams delivered 2,000 babies in the Rutherford area between 1910 and 1952. [2] Today, Rutherford is home to a theater, "The Williams Center," named after the poet.

[edit] Career
Although his primary occupation was as a doctor, Williams had a full literary career. His work consists of short stories, poems, plays, novels, critical essays, an autobiography, translations and correspondence. He wrote at night and spent weekends in New York City with friends - writers and artists like the avant-garde painters Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia and the poets Wallace Stevens and Marianne Moore. He became involved in the Imagist movement but soon he began to develop opinions that differed from those of his poetic peers, Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot. Later in his life, Williams toured the United States giving poetry readings and lectures.

During the First World War, when a number of European artists established themselves in New York City, Williams became friends with members of the avant-garde such as Man Ray, Francis Picabia and Marcel Duchamp. In 1915 Williams began to be associated with a group of New York artists and writers known as "The Others." Founded by the poet Alfred Kreymborg and by Man Ray, this group included Walter Conrad Arensberg, Wallace Stevens, Mina Loy, Marianne Moore and Duchamp. Through these involvements Williams got to know the Dadaist movement, which may explain the influence on his earlier poems of Dadaist and Surrealist principles. His involvement with The Others made Williams a key member of the early modernist movement in America.

Williams disliked Ezra Pound's and especially T. S. Eliot's frequent use of allusions to foreign languages and Classical sources, as in Eliot's The Waste Land. Williams preferred to draw his themes from what he called "the local." In his modernist epic collage of place, Paterson (published between 1946 and 1958), an account of the history, people, and essence of Paterson, New Jersey, he examined the role of the poet in American society. Williams most famously summarized his poetic method in the phrase "No ideas but in things" (found in his 1927 poem "Patterson," the forerunner to the book-length work). He advocated that poets leave aside traditional poetic forms and unnecessary literary allusions, and try to see the world as it is. Marianne Moore, another skeptic of traditional poetic forms, wrote Williams had used "plain American which cats and dogs can read," with distinctly American idioms.

One of his most notable contributions to American literature was his willingness to be a mentor for younger poets. Though Pound and Eliot may have been more lauded in their time, a number of important poets in the generations that followed were either personally tutored by Williams or pointed to Williams as a major influence. He had an especially significant influence on many of the American literary movements of the 1950s: poets of the Beat Generation, the San Francisco Renaissance, the Black Mountain school, and the New York School. He personally mentored Charles Olson, who was instrumental in developing the poetry of the Black Mountain College and subsequently influenced many other poets. Robert Creeley and Denise Levertov, two other poets associated with Black Mountain, studied under Williams. Williams was friends with Kenneth Rexroth, the founder of the San Francisco Renaissance. A lecture Williams gave at Reed College was formative in inspiring three other important members of that Renaissance: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen and Lew Welch. One of Williams's most dynamic relationships as a mentor was with fellow New Jerseyite Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg claimed that Williams essentially freed his poetic voice. Williams included several of Ginsberg's letters in Paterson, stating that one of them helped inspire the fifth section of that work. Williams also wrote introductions to two of Ginsberg's books, including Howl. Williams sponsored unknown poets such as H.H. Lewis, a radical Missouri Communist poet, who he believed wrote in the voice of the people. Though Williams consistently loved the poetry of those he mentored, he did not always like the results of his influence on other poets (the perceived formlessness, for example, of other Beat Generation poets). Williams believed more in the interplay of form and expression.


Poems (1909)
The Tempers (1913)
Al Que Quiere (1917)
Sour Grapes (1921)
Spring and All (1923)
Go Go (1923)
The Cod Head (1932)
Collected Poems, 1921-1931 (1934)
An Early Martyr and Other Poems (1935)
Adam & Eve & The City (1936)
The Complete Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, 1906-1938 (1938)
The Broken Span (1941)
The Wedge (1944)
Paterson Book I (1946); Book II (1948); Book III (1949); Book IV (1951); Book V (1958)
Clouds, Aigeltinger, Russia (1948)
The Collected Later Poems (1950; rev. ed.1963)
Collected Earlier Poems (1951; rev. ed., 1966)
The Desert Music and Other Poems (1954)
Journey to Love (1955)
Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962)
Paterson (Books I-V in one volume, (1963)
Imaginations (1970)
Collected Poems: Volume 1, 1909-1939 (1988)
Collected Poems: Volume 2, 1939-1962 (1989)
Early Poems (1997)


Kora in Hell: Improvisations (1920) - Prose-poem improvisations.
The Great American Novel (1923) - A novel.
Spring and All (1923) - A hybrid of prose and verse.
In the American Grain (1925), 1967, repr. New Directions 2004 - Prose on historical figures and events.
A Voyage to Pagany (1928) - An autobiographical travelogue in the form of a novel.
Novelette and Other Prose (1932)
The Knife of the Times, and Other Stories (1932)
White Mule (1937) - A novel.
Life along the Passaic River (1938) - Short stories.
In the Money (1940) - Sequel to White Mule.
Make Light of It: Collected Stories (1950)
Autobiography (1951)
The Build-Up (1952) - Completes the "Stecher trilogy" begun with White Mule.
Selected Essays (1954)
The Selected Letters of William Carlos Williams (1957)
I Wanted to Write a Poem: The Autobiography of the Works of a Poet (1958)
Yes, Mrs. Williams: A Personal Record of My Mother (1959)
The Farmers' Daughters: Collected Stories (1961)
Imaginations (1970) - A collection of five previously published early works.
The Embodiment of Knowledge (1974) - Philosophical and critical notes and essays.
Interviews With William Carlos Williams: "Speaking Straight Ahead" (1976)
A Recognizable Image: William Carlos Williams on Art and Artists (1978)
Pound/Williams: Selected Letters of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams (1996)
The Collected Stories of William Carlos Williams (1996)
The Letters of Denise Levertov and William Carlos Williams (1998)
William Carlos Williams and Charles Tomlinson: A Transatlantic Connection (1998)

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