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Williams William Carlos 1883-1963 American writer whose use of simple direct language marked a new course in 20th-century poetry Unlike some other writers of his time such as T S Eliot Williams avoided complexity and obscure symbolism Instead he produced lyrics such as this one from January Morning 1938 that contain few difficult references All this- was for you old woman I wanted to write a poem that you would understand Williamss greatest achievement as a writer was the epic Paterson 5 volumes 1946-1958 which is a landmark of 20th-century poetry Williams was born in Rutherford New Jersey His father William George Williams was from Britain and his mother Helene Raquel Williams was a Puerto Rican-born woman of Basque and French descent Williams grew up in a household that spoke French Spanish and British English He entered the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1902 and while there formed friendships with several poets who would go on to great fame Ezra Pound Marianne Moore and Hilda Doolittle After an internship in New York City Williams studied pediatrics at the University of Leipzig in Germany By late 1912 Williams had returned to Rutherford set up a private practice and married his fiance of several years Florence Hermann Although he developed a busy practice as a doctor Williams also was a prolific writer and for much of his life he published a book at least every two years His most important prose works are The Great American Novel 1923 In the American Grain 1925 a collection of essays on figures from American history and White Mule 1938 the first novel in a three-book series following In addition to Paterson Williamss various poetry collections include The Collected Early Poems 1938 The Collected Later Poems 1950 and Pictures
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