William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams, 1883–1963, American poet and physician, b. Rutherford, N.J., educated in Geneva, Switzerland, Univ. of Pennsylvania (M.D., 1906), and Univ. of Leipzig, where he studied pediatrics. He is regarded as one of the most important and original American poets of the 20th cent. Williams began his medical practice in 1910 in Rutherford and was a physician for more than 40 years. His early poetry shows the influences of the various poetic trends of the time—from metaphorical imagism in Poems (1909) and The Tempers (1913) to free-verse expressionism in Al Que Quiere! (1917), Kora in Hell (1920), and Sour Grapes (1921). Williams observed American life closely, expressed anger at injustice, and recorded his impressions in a lucid, vital style. He developed a verse that is close to the idiom of speech, revealing a fidelity to ordinary things seen and heard. Later volumes of his poetry include Collected Poems (1934), Collected Later Poems (1950), Collected Earlier Poems (1951), Journey to Love (1955), Pictures from Brueghel, and Other Poems (1963; Pulitzer Prize), and a five-volume, impressionistic, philosophical poem, Paterson (1946–58), in which he uses the experience of life in an American city to voice his feelings on the duty of the poet. His essays include those in In the American Grain (1925), Selected Essays (1954), and Embodiment of Knowledge (1974). Among his other works are a collection of short stories, Make Light of It (1950); plays, including A Dream of Love (1948) and Many Loves (1950); and the novels A Voyage to Pagany (1928), a three-volume chronicle of an immigrant family in America, White Mule (1937), In the Money (1940), and The Build-Up (1952). His autobiography appeared in 1951 and his Selected Letters was published in 1957.

See biographies by R. Coles (1975) and P. Mariani (1981); studies by J. E. Breslin (1970), S. Tapscott (1984), S. Cushman (1985), A. Fisher-Wirth (1989), W. Berry (2011), and H. A. Leibowitz (2011).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

William Carlos Williams
Vivienne Koch.
New Directions, 1950
The Poetic World of William Carlos Williams
Alan Ostrom.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1966
Remembering William Carlos Williams
James Laughlin.
New Directions, 1995
William Carlos Williams and the Diagnostics of Culture
Brian A. Bremen.
Oxford University Press, 1993
Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems: Collected Poems 1950-1962
William Carlos Williams.
New Directions, 1967
The Pisan Cantos
Ezra Pound.
New Directions, 1948
The Collected Stories of William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams.
New Directions, 1996
Selected Poems
William Carlos Williams.
[New Directions, 1949]., 1949
Make Light of It: Collected Stories
William Carlos Williams.
Random House, 1950
Many Loves and Other Plays: The Collected Plays of William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams.
New Directions, 1961
In the American Grain
William Carlos Williams.
New Directions Books, 1956
The Embodiment of Knowledge
William Carlos Williams; Ron Loewinsohn.
New Directions, 1974
A Profile of Twentieth-Century American Poetry
Jack Myers; David Wojahn.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of William Carlos Williams in multiple chapters
Columbia Literary History of the United States
Emory Elliott; Martha Banta; Terence Martin; David Minter; Marjorie Perloff; Daniel B. Shea.
Columbia University Press, 1988
Librarian’s tip: "William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens" begins on p. 972
Quotation and Modern American Poetry: Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads
Elizabeth Gregory.
Rice University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "William Carlos Williams's Paterson"
The Metamorphic Tradition in Modern Poetry: Essays on the Work of Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, T. S. Eliot, Hart Crane, Randall Jarrell, and William Butler Yeats
M. Bernetta Quinn.
Rutgers University Press, 1955
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "William Carlos Williams: A Testament of Perpetual Change"
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator