William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams Poems

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
...

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
...

Let the snake wait under
his weed
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
...

You sullen pig of a man
you force me into the mud
with your stinking ash-cart!
...

Snow falls:
years of anger following
hours that float idly down --
the blizzard
...

And yet one arrives somehow,
finds himself loosening the hooks of
her dress
in a strange bedroom--
...

If I when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
are sleeping
and the sun is a flame-white disc
...

8.

Ecstatic bird songs pound
the hollow vastness of the sky
with metallic clinkings--
beating color up into it
...

It was an icy day.
We buried the cat,
then took her box
and set fire to it
...

Go to sleep- though of course you will not-
to tideless waves thundering slantwise against
strong embankments, rattle and swish of spray
dashed thirty feet high, caught by the lake wind,
...

The half-stripped trees
struck by a wind together,
bending all,
the leaves flutter drily
...

Of asphodel, that greeny flower,
like a buttercup
upon its branching stem-
save that it's green and wooden-
...

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring
...

I stopped the car
to let the children down
where the streets end
in the sun
...

A middle-northern March, now as always--
gusts from the South broken against cold winds--
but from under, as if a slow hand lifted a tide,
it moves--not into April--into a second March,
...

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast -- a cold wind. Beyond, the
...

the back wings
of the
...

They call me and I go.
It is a frozen road
past midnight, a dust
of snow caught
...

19.

The dayseye hugging the earth
in August, ha! Spring is
gone down in purple,
weeds stand high in the corn,
...

There were some dirty plates
and a glass of milk
beside her on a small table
near the rank, disheveled bed--
...

William Carlos Williams Biography

an American poet closely associated with modernism and Imagism. He was also a pediatrician and general practitioner of medicine, having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Williams "worked harder at being a writer than he did at being a physician"; but during his lifetime, Williams excelled at both. Biography Early Years Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey to an English father and a Puerto Rican mother. He received his primary and secondary education in Rutherford until 1897, when he was sent for two years to a school near Geneva and to the Lycée Condorcet in Paris. He attended the Horace Mann High School upon his return to New York City and after having passed a special examination, he was admitted in 1902 to the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1906. Family Williams married Florence Herman (1891–1976) in 1912, after his first proposal to her older sister was refused. They moved into a house in Rutherford, New Jersey, which was their home for many years. Shortly afterward, his first book of serious poems, The Tempers, was published. On a trip to Europe in 1924, Williams spent time with writers Ezra Pound and James Joyce. Florence and Williams' sons stayed behind in New Jersey. 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 both American, such as Man Ray, and visitors from Europe, such as 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 poem "A Sort of a Song" and in Paterson). 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 Theodore Roethke, and 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. Death After Williams suffered a heart attack in 1948, his health began to decline, and after 1949 a series of strokes followed. He also underwent treatment for clinical depression in a psychiatric hospital during 1953. Williams died on March 4, 1963 at the age of seventy-nine at his home in Rutherford. He was buried in Hillside Cemetery in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Two days after his death, a British publisher announced that he was going to print his poems. During his lifetime, Williams had not received as much recognition from Britain as he had from the United States, and Williams had always protested against the English influence on American poetry. Poetry Williams' major collections are Kora in Hell (1920), Spring and All (1923), Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962), Paterson (1963, repr. 1992), and Imaginations (1970). His most anthologized poem is "The Red Wheelbarrow", considered an example of the Imagist movement's style and principles (see also "This Is Just To Say"). However, Williams, like his associate Ezra Pound, had long ago rejected the imagist movement by the time this poem was published as part of Spring and All in 1923. Williams is more strongly associated with the American Modernist movement in literature, and saw his poetic project as a distinctly American one; he sought to renew language through the fresh, raw idiom that grew out of America's cultural and social heterogeneity, at the same time freeing it from what he saw as the worn-out language of British and European culture. Williams tried to invent an entirely fresh form, an American form of poetry whose subject matter was centered on everyday circumstances of life and the lives of common people. He then came up with the concept of the variable foot evolved from years of visual and auditory sampling of his world from the first person perspective as a part of the day in the life as a physician. The variable foot is rooted within the multi-faceted American Idiom. This discovery was a part of his keen observation of how radio and newspaper influenced how people communicated and represents the "machine made out of words" (as he described a poem in the introduction to his book, The Wedge) just as the mechanistic motions of a city can become a consciousness. Williams didn’t use traditional meter in most of his poems. His correspondence with Hilda Doolittle also exposed him to the relationship of sapphic rhythms to the inner voice of poetic truth: "The stars about the beautiful moon again hide their radiant shapes, when she is full and shines at her brightest on all the earth"—Sappho. This is to be contrasted with a poem from Journey To Love titled "Shadows": "Shadows cast by the street light under the stars, the head is tilted back, the long shadow of the legs presumes a world taken for granted on which the cricket trills" The breaks in the poem search out a natural pause spoken in the American idiom that is also reflective of rhythms found within jazz sounds that also touch upon Sapphic harmony. Williams experimented with different types of lines and eventually found the "stepped triadic line", a long line which is divided into three segments. This line is used in Paterson and in poems like "To Elsie" and "The Ivy Crown." Here again one of Williams' aims is to show the truly American (i.e., opposed to European traditions) rhythm which is unnoticed but present in everyday American language. Stylistically, Williams worked with variations on free-form styles, notably developing and utilising the triadic line as in his lengthy love-poem Asphodel, That Greeny Flower. In a review of Herbert Liebowitz's Something Urgent I have to say to You: The Life and Works of William Carlos Williams appearing in the December 15, 2011 issue of The New Republic, critic Christopher Benfey writes of the thematic purpose of Williams's poetry, "Early and late, Williams held the conviction that poetry was in his friend Kenneth Burke's phrase, 'equipment for living,' a necessary guide amid the bewilderments of life.' The American ground was wild and new, a place where a blooming foreigner needed all the help he could get. Poems were as essential to a full life as physical health or the love of men and women." Politics Modern liberals portray Williams as aligned with liberal democratic issues; however, as his publications in more politically radical journals like New Masses suggest, his political commitments were further to the left than the term "liberal" indicates. He considered himself a socialist and opponent of capitalism, and in 1935 published "The Yachts", a poem which indicts the rich elite as parasites and the masses as striving for revolution. The poem features an image of the ocean as the "watery bodies" of the poor masses beating at their hulls "in agony, in despair", attempting to sink the yachts and end "the horror of the race". Furthermore, in the introduction to his 1944 book of poems "The Wedge", he writes of socialism as an inevitable future development and as a necessity for true art to develop. In 1949, he published a booklet/bar "The Pink Church" that was about the human body but was understood, in the context of McCarthyism, as being dangerously pro-communist. The anti-communist movement led to his losing a consultantship with the Library of Congress in 1952/3, an event that contributed to his being treated for clinical depression. In an unpublished article for Blast, Williams wrote artists should resist producing propaganda and be "devoted to writing (first and last)." However, in the same article Williams claims that art can also be "in the service of the proletariat". Legacy, Awards and Honors In May 1963, he was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962) and the Gold Medal for Poetry of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. The Poetry Society of America continues to honor William Carlos Williams by presenting an annual award in his name for the best book of poetry published by a small, non-profit or university press. Williams' house in Rutherford is now on the National Register of Historic Places. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009.)

The Best Poem Of William Carlos Williams

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

William Carlos Williams Comments

Andrea Hatcher 18 December 2011

Where is 'The Ivy Crown'?

95 140 Reply
Rosa Jamali 01 June 2008

How fascinating is the way images capture your mind, like a painting, a journey through the images...

107 106 Reply

William Carlos Williams in his poem: 'A Sort of a Song' gives us a real 'ARS POETICA'.A motto for all of us: 'and the writing be of words' and an ideal: 'Compose. (No ideas but in things) Invent! '

92 104 Reply
Seán O' Muiriosa 12 July 2006

I think what Carlos Williams does with form is exceptional and something truely brilliant.

43 48 Reply
yeet the meat 13 December 2018

cdjlasfj; lasfjoaesgfjladejfas OOF OFOFOFOfof

5 10 Reply
a poet 13 April 2021

what an odd and unsympathetic way to read W. C. Williams poem!

1 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 22 February 2021

My greatest compliments to these USA poets! I like them both very much! Included EBB and Erica Jong

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 22 February 2021

Marianne Moore, another skeptic of traditional poetic forms, wrote Williams had used 'plain American which cats and dogs can read, ' with distinctly American idioms.BOTH are the great poets from the USA

0 0 Reply
Valerie 05 October 2020

Hiii I am Valerie. I am 14 years old. I love poems.I don't like taking the trash out.I was first inspired by Valerie Worth.Then I started reading William Carlos Williams. I like both poets. When I was 5 years old I was what taught about poems and poetry. I loved it then I wanted to Listen to more.When I was 10 years old I was in the 3rd grade.I was not taught how to do poetry. I was mad and then I got up and told the teacher to do poetry. she said NO!

4 0 Reply
Valerie 05 October 2020

yasss u always inspire me wow get it and inspire more! ! !

1 2 Reply

William Carlos Williams Quotes

Poe gives the sense for the first time in America, that literature is serious, not a matter of courtesy but of truth.

Afraid lest he be caught up in a net of words, tripped up, bewildered and so defeated—thrown aside—a man hesitates to write down his innermost convictions.

The pure products of America go crazy—mountain folk from Kentucky or the ribbed north end of Jersey with its isolate lakes and valleys, its deaf-mutes, thieves.

William Carlos Williams Popularity

William Carlos Williams Popularity

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