William Carlos Williams
This remarkable New Jersey poet-physician established an American kind of poem distinct from European forms. His work
demonstrates an innovative use of common objects and experience as topics for poems as well as formal experiments with the cadences of actual American speech.
Hear Williams read "To Elsie" and find a concise Williams biography, a connection to Allen Ginsberg sites, and more at the Academy of American Poets' site on Williams.
Read the six Williams poems, including "Portrait of a Lady" and "Willow Poem," featured in the August 1920 issue of The Dial.
"I see bare branches laden with snow." For an interesting exhibition on the influence of Chinese art and poetry on Williams and other writers, visit the online version of "Petals on a Wet Black Bough: American Modernist Writers and the Orient," presented by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library of Yale University.
"It is...time to restore a vulgar vitality to poetry...," says Dana Gioia in "Can Poetry Matter?" from The Atlantic Monthly (May 1991). Gioia says that a passage from Williams's "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower" provides a possible starting point for poets to persuade readers that poetry still matters.