Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy Birthday, William Carlos Williams


William Carlos Williams was born on September 17, 1883, in Rutherford, New Jersey. Williams graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and worked for many years as a physician in Rutherford. He was familiar with Ezra Pound and the work of T.S. Eliot, but came to dislike both. In addition to his own poetry (collected in two volumes by New Directions) and the long poem, Patterson (also available from New Directions), Williams wrote an autobiography, short stories, novels and plays. He was a mentor to Charles Olson, and a hero to poets like Allen Ginsburg. Several of Ginsburg's letters to Williams are included in the text of Patterson.

Williams died on March 4, 1963.

Here's a poem from Volume I (1909-1939) of the Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams (New Directions, 1986):


AFRICA

Quit writing
and in Morocco
raise a beard

Go without a hat
like poor Clew
who braved

the desert heat.
Or if you will
like Herb

sit on a hotel
balcony and
watch your ship

while the girls
bring wines
and food

to you privately.
The language?
Make money.

Organize
the language.
Right.

2 Comments:

Blogger Adam Deutsch said...

I knew I could count on your to pick something really good.

9:14 AM  
Blogger greg rappleye said...

Adam:

Thanks!

It is a good poem, don't you think?
It practically jumped off the page this morning--and I hadn't even had my coffee.

11:34 AM  

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