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Williams, William Carlos. (1883 - 1963).

L i f e

- born into a cultured family

- read Afro-American poets (P. L. Dunbar), English Romantic poets (J. Keats), and English Victorian poets

- followed two full-time careers: a New Jersey physician and a poet

- suffered underestimation as a poet

W o r k

- associated with ‘objectivism’ = a post-imagist group

- insisted no symbolism should be allowed to hide the purpose of poetry

- sought to elevate the world of senses to make it equal to imagination

E a r l y  P o e t r y :

- used a simple language, and direct realistic images

- concentrated on the rhyme

Poems (1909):

- his early collection

- marred by derivations and well-meant clichés

- later called it ‘bad Keats’, and broke with traditional forms and subject matters

Kora in Hell: Improvisations (1920):

- an experimental montage of passages written ‘automatically’ (to reveal subconscious funds of poetic energy) and commentary on them

I m a g i s t  P o e t ry :

Al Que Quiere! (1920):

- an imagist collection

- the title = "To Him Who Wants It!"

"The Red Wheelbarrow"

"This is Just to Say"

S e l f - c o n s c i o u s l y  A m e r i c a n :

The Great American Novel (1923):

- prose

Spring and All (1923):

- an intermixture of prose and poetry

In the American Grain (1925):

- prose, a personal revision of American history and culture

Paterson (1946):

- a modern epic for the industrial-age America

- a response to E. Pound’s fragmentary Cantos x but: an attempt of unification

- the title: from Paterson = an actual town in his country


(Photo: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    William Carlos Williams. (1883 - 1963). American.
  • Work

    Poet. Prose writer. Author of Paterson (1946).
  • Genre

    Modernism. Imagism.


Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.

Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American  Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.

Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.

McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.

Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od  puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.

Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.


"This was I,

a sparrow. 

I did my best; 



"The Sparrow".


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