William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams ( born September 17, 1883 in Rutherford, New Jersey, † March 4, 1963 ) was an American lyricist.


WCW, as it is often abbreviated, almost spent his entire life - apart from several months of travel from Europe - in his hometown of Rutherford, New Jersey, where he also practiced after 1910 as a physician (MD).

During his medical studies at the University of Pennsylvania, he became friends with Ezra Pound. Later he was with this ( and TS Eliot ) the most important poet of American modernism. Unlike Pound, who was based on European models, WCW, in its collection of essays, In the American Grain (1925 ) a simple yet avant-garde poetry, which should be based on the spoken language and the everyday American world. The friendship with Pound always been based on this strong contrast between the views of the two poets as well as their different emphases. WCW says in his autobiography ( Munich 1994, pp. 310-311 ): " Ezra was always very careful to bridge the gap between my educational gaps and its sovereign erudition. Since he here treats me not patronizing, I let myself like it. It gives me sincere sorrow that my literary skills are inferior to his own so far. I respect his discomfort and try my best to adjust to his well-intentioned efforts, " What probably like it hot. WCW knew the European literature less than Pound. During his European tour WCW was, however, very hard to remedy this deficiency since he met especially in Paris with well-known European writers, intellectuals and artists. On the other hand, ridiculed the WCW Pounds attempts to distinguish itself as an opera composer. WCW says these experiments (p. 306): "In my opinion, you can Ezra, as well as WB Yeats, distinguish no sound from another. " He believed, therefore Pounds interest for the opera was based rather on his pronounced sense of rhythm.

His early poems are still strongly influenced by European Dadaism and Surrealism. In 1923 he wrote his best-known poem until today This is Just to Say. Along with Pound and Eliot, he joined in 1912 the Imagists at, an Anglo-American literary movement. His friendship with Pound broke later in artistic disagreements and Pounds support for Italian fascism, which did not prevent him to visit the interned in the U.S. Pound (see autobiography ).

Under the leadership of William Carlos Williams minimalist school an " objectivist " was published anthology in 1932. In it, there are also the poet George Oppen, Charles Reznikoff, and Louis Zukofsky. The poems should be a separate and specific structural unit and do not allow the symbolic or emotional subtext or the intention of the author.

When Williams ' masterpiece which are published in five volumes poems about the city of Paterson in New Jersey ( 1946-1961 ). In 1955 he wrote the foreword to the first edition of a poem of the then-unknown author and poet from this very city - Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl to. Williams had a great influence on some writers of the Beat Generation. About Harold Norse, he wrote that he was one of the best poets of his generation. In his equally masterful stories often form Williams' experience as a doctor in rural America the background of the often relatively short, so precise and poetic texts.

In 1950, the National Book Award, 1963 Pulitzer Prize he was awarded.

As a result of his third stroke in October 1955, he suffered a paralysis, which slowed his pace. Nevertheless, he taught himself to type with his non- paralyzed hand on an electric typewriter.

At the age of 79 years, William Carlos Williams died in March 1963 in Rutherford, New Jersey, after another series of severe strokes.


  • The Tempers (1913 )
  • Poems (1909-1917)
  • Al Que Quiere! (1917 )
  • Poems (1918-1921)
  • Sour Grapes ( 1921)
  • The Great Figure ( 1921)
  • Spring and All (1923 )
  • The Great American Novel (1923 )
  • Poems (1922-1928)
  • In the American Grain (1925 )
  • The Descent of Winter ( 1928)
  • A voyage to Pagany (1928 )
  • Poems (1929-1935)
  • An Early Martyr and Other Poems (1935 )
  • Adam & Eve & the City (1936 )
  • Poems (1936-1939)
  • The Wedge (1944 )
  • The Desert Music and Other Poems (1954 )
  • Journey to Love (1955 )
  • Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962 )

In German language

  • Paterson. Poem in five volumes. Hanser Verlag, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-446-19512-2.
  • Love poems. Insel Verlag, Frankfurt / Leipzig 2008, ISBN 978-3-458-35043-9.
  • The novels. Consisting of "White Mule ", " Good in the race " (English " in the money ") and " The structure " ( engl. "The Build - Up" ) Zweitausendeins Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1999, ISBN 3-86150-290 -9.