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© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

William Carlos Williams: Selected full-text books and articles

William Carlos Williams By Vivienne Koch New Directions, 1950
The Poetic World of William Carlos Williams By Alan Ostrom Southern Illinois University Press, 1966
Remembering William Carlos Williams By James Laughlin New Directions, 1995
William Carlos Williams and the Diagnostics of Culture By Brian A. Bremen Oxford University Press, 1993
The Pisan Cantos By Ezra Pound New Directions, 1948
The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams By William Carlos Williams; A. Walton Litz; Christopher Macgowan New Directions, vol.1, 1986
The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams By William Carlos Williams; Christopher Macgowan New Directions, vol.2, 1986
The Collected Stories of William Carlos Williams By William Carlos Williams New Directions, 1996
In the American Grain By William Carlos Williams New Directions Books, 1956
Librarian’s tip: This is a book of essays by William Carlos Williams
The Embodiment of Knowledge By William Carlos Williams; Ron Loewinsohn New Directions, 1974
A Profile of Twentieth-Century American Poetry By 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 By 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 By 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 By M. Bernetta Quinn Rutgers University Press, 1955
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "William Carlos Williams: A Testament of Perpetual Change"
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