William Carlos Williams

   The American poet William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) was one of the leading literary fig­ures of the 20th century. He was also a pediatrician with a thriving medical practice.
   Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jer­sey, on September 17, 1883. He attended school in New York City and Switzerland before entering the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received a medical degree in 1906. He published his first book of poetry just three years later. From that time until his death, he published nearly forty more volumes of poetry, fiction, essays, and other works.
   Williams based his poetry on everyday experience, taking his subjects from the land-scape and people around him. He used the language of ordinary American speech in poems ranging from the eight-line "The Red Wheelbarrow" (1923) to the five-volume epic poem Paterson (1946-58). The latter work depicts the human condition through a portrait of a modern American city. His series of es­says In the American Grain (1925) reflects his belief that American art should be rooted in the American experience.
   Williams' other works include the poetry collection Spring and All (1923), the novel White Mule (1937), the short story collection Make Light of It (1950), and an autobiography (1951). He won the Pulitzer Prize for his last three books of poems, collected as Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962). William Carlos Williams died in Rutherford on March 4,1963.