Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
FURTHER READING
Related Prose
A Brief Guide to Imagism
A Brief Guide to the Objectivists
A Brief Guide to the San Francisco Renaissance
Ekphrasis: Poetry Confronting Art
Groundbreaking Book: Spring and All by William Carlos Williams (1923)
In Praise of Abstraction: Moving Beyond Concrete Imagery
by Ravi Shankar
Modern American Poetry: the Objectivists
by Elaine Equi
On "The Red Wheelbarrow"
Poetry Landmark: William Carlos Williams's Hometown of Rutherford, NJ
Steve Reich & William Carlos Williams: Finding a Form
This Is Just To Say That So Much Depends Upon
by Timothy Liu
Video: Blaney Lecture: The Whispered Rush, Telepathy of Archives
by Susan Howe
Where It Breaks: Drama, Silence, Speed, and Accrual
by Dana Levin
Easy Poet Costume Ideas
A Brief Guide to Modernism
Other Imagism Poets
Amy Lowell
D. H. Lawrence
H. D.
Other Modernist Poets
E. E. Cummings
Ezra Pound
Gertrude Stein
H. D.
Hart Crane
Marianne Moore
Mina Loy
T. S. Eliot
Wallace Stevens
Other Objectivist Poets
Charles Reznikoff
George Oppen
Kenneth Rexroth
Lorine Niedecker
Louis Zukofsky
Related Poets
Lorine Niedecker
Marianne Moore
Theodore Roethke
External Links
Video: "The Great Figure"
A dynamic rendition of the poem (Quicktime, 62 seconds) from Voices & Visions, a video series in the Annenberg/CPB Multimedia Collection.
William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)
A collection of critical, historical, and biographical information at the Modern American Poetry site.
William Carlos Williams Review
A biannual publication subsidized in part by the University of Texas at Austin.
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print
William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams

In 1883, William Carlos Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey. He began writing poetry while a student at Horace Mann High School, at which time he made the decision to become both a writer and a doctor. He received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania, where he met and befriended Ezra Pound.

Pound became a great influence on his writing, and in 1913 arranged for the London publication of Williams's second collection, The Tempers. Returning to Rutherford, where he sustained his medical practice throughout his life, Williams began publishing in small magazines and embarked on a prolific career as a poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright.

Following Pound, he was one of the principal poets of the Imagist movement, though as time went on, he began to increasingly disagree with the values put forth in the work of Pound and especially Eliot, who he felt were too attached to European culture and traditions. Continuing to experiment with new techniques of meter and lineation, Williams sought to invent an entirely fresh—and singularly American—poetic, whose subject matter was centered on the everyday circumstances of life and the lives of common people.

His influence as a poet spread slowly during the twenties and thirties, overshadowed, he felt, by the immense popularity of Eliot's "The Waste Land"; however, his work received increasing attention in the 1950s and 1960s as younger poets, including Allen Ginsberg and the Beats, were impressed by the accessibility of his language and his openness as a mentor. His major works include Kora in Hell (1920), Spring and All (1923), Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962), the five-volume epic Paterson (1963, 1992), and Imaginations (1970).

Williams's health began to decline after a heart attack in 1948 and a series of strokes, but he continued writing up until his death in New Jersey in 1963.

Poems by
William Carlos Williams

A Love Song
Approach of Winter
Asphodel, That Greeny Flower [excerpt]
Complaint
Complete Destruction
Danse Russe
Details for Paterson
For the Poem Paterson [1. Detail]
For the Poem Paterson [3. St. Valentine]
Gulls
It Is a Small Plant
Landscape With The Fall of Icarus
Marriage
Peace on Earth
Poem [Daniel Boone]
Poem [on getting a card]
Queen-Anne's-Lace
Smell
Spring and All [By the road to the contagious hospital]
Spring and All, XIV
Spring Storm
Summer Song
The Descent
The Great Figure
The Hurricane
The Red Wheelbarrow
The Uses of Poetry
The Widow's Lament in Springtime
This Is Just To Say
To a Poor Old Woman
To Elsie
Tract
Winter Trees

Translations by
William Carlos Williams

Night on the Great River [three translations] by Meng Hao-jan

Prose by
William Carlos Williams

Introduction to The Wedge

Want more poetry?
Sign up to receive our
monthly update emails.


Support independent booksellers
Make your purchase online through IndieBound or find a local bookstore on the National Poetry Map.


Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.