I
THE POEMS

IT IS IN POETRY THAT WILLIAMS' ACHIEVEMENT PROMISES to be most enduring. There are some good poets whose destiny appears as rigidly determined as a formula in calculus. Marianne Moore is such a poet. She is of Williams' generation and has been exposed to the same literary currents. But reading her last work in Nevertheless ( 1944) and admiring the lathelike precision of its wit, one finds little that one might not have predicted from Observations ( 1924). This is not to deny Miss Moore her development but merely to point to its inevitability. Examining Dr. Williams' poetry, we proceed, as perhaps the poet himself did, by a series of shocks. Looking at a recent poem, "The Pink Church," a rich hymn of avowal, one remembers the Luther-inspired sonnet composed in 1909 when Williams was a young medical student in Germany. The gap of almost forty years in composition is not as great as the distance between the two poems. Before this sonnet and the first tiny, blue-covered collec-

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William Carlos Williams
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Makers of Modern Literature Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Legend vi
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • I - The Poems 1
  • II - The Plays 146
  • III The Novels and Short Stories 187
  • IV - Prose Other Than Fiction 247
  • Bibliography 267
  • Index 274
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