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William Carlos Williams


Poems is an anthology of William Carlos Williams’ poetry collections, combining The Tempers (1913), Al Que Quiere! (1917), and Sour Grapes (1921). Williams is recognized as one of the foremost poets of American Modernism. In these collections a reader may perceive Williams’ contact with and subsequent growth through and away from Imagism. The poet’s work asserts a decidedly American approach to Modernism and features highly localized diction and imagery.

William Carlos Williams was born in 1883, grew up in New Jersey, and was educated in Europe and the United States. He was friends with Hilda Doolittle “H. D.” and Ezra Pound, and through these friendships was introduced to Imagism. He eventually broke with the Imagists and invested himself instead in capturing the unique diction and linguistic intermingling of the United States, while remaining committed to the concreteness that characterizes Imagism. A practising doctor, Williams included many images of bodies, sickness, and medical care in his early poems. Williams later claimed there are “no ideas but in things,” a sentiment rooted in both his contact with Imagism and his firm sense of place.

Williams continued to read and respond to expatriate and English Modernism, culminating in his long work Paterson. In his later career Williams influenced postwar literary movements, most notably the Beat Generation. He died in 1963.

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