William Carlos Williams was an American physician and poet. He was born in Rutherford, New Jersey in 1883 and died in 1963; his father was English and his mother, Puerto Rican.
Although first and foremost a doctor (his lifelong career) Williams had a boundless love for words. It was a love affair that lasted a lifetime and which led him down the path to becoming an eminent writer and poet. As with all creative pursuits, the calling to write was strong for Williams, but his day job took priority. He came up against that same dilemma of many creatives; making a living or following our hearts. He did both: practised medicine by day and wrote by night.
Williams wholly endorsed the new, as it was then, modernist literary fashion. The movement sought freedom of expression and a departure from traditional writing precepts that had so confined writers in the past. New thought, innovation, a boldness with words and sentence structure, is what this approach espoused, and this excited Williams.
William Carlos Williams published over fifty books including poetry, prose, dramas and novels, but it’s poetry that brought his name to the fore.
This short poem demonstrates his modernist, pragmatic flair. It’s short and sharp and quirky. It implores us all, as expressive writers, to be bold, fearless, innovative and to allow our writing to flow and flourish in our own unique voice.