William Carlos Williams:
“ The Use of Force”
English Composition II
10 April 2012
10 April 2012
“ The Use of Force”
William Carlos Williams (1883- 1963) is one of the prominent personas of American Poetry. He received his Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the American Academy of Arts and Letters gold medal for poetry from the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1963. Despite Williams’ recognition as one of the elite poets of the twentieth century, he was also known for his writings in many other genres. Williams’ life story was a result of all his plans that didn’t fall into place. He wanted to be an athlete, a forester, something that was totally opposite from the career that he had as a pediatrician. “ I was rather pushed into medicine rather than choosing it myself. My own choice was to be a forester…I like to be outdoors and had no intention of becoming a physician at all…” * W.C. Williams.
He originally wanted to marry his wife’s older sister, but his brother turned out to propose to her first. Williams turned to writing poems, short stories, novels, books, plays and translations to find comfort and solidarity. Most of his writings were about people and situation that he encountered in his life. He used his characters to depict what the conditions of the Americans during his time were facing: Poverty and Suffering. Williams was born and raised in a family of morally strict people who lived in Rutherford, New Jersey. Williams’ father was a businessman of English descent, and his mother, an amateur painter from Puerto Rico. He attended Horace Mann High School in New York City with his brother Edgar. Williams had always been athletic until he was diagnosed with a weak heart and can no longer do anything strenuous. During his years at Horace Mann High School, he developed his passion for writing through his English teacher named Uncle Billy Abott. He taught Williams to use the sorrows and distresses that he had during those times as an inspiration to start writing. From then on, Williams used writing to “rescue himself under all sorts of conditions and also to relieve his feelings of distress.” (Williams).
When Williams’ dreams of becoming an athlete were thrown out of the picture because of his medical condition, his mother suggested to him the idea of entering the medical field. In 1902, he got admitted medical school University of Pennsylvania and received his MD in 1906. He then interned and studied advanced pediatrics in Leipzig, Germany for three years. It was during his stay in University of Pennsylvania that he began his lifelong friendship with Ezra Pound. Ezra Pound, one of the most famous poets of his time, opened the doors for Williams’ name to finally be recognize and acquainted with the greatest poets of their generation, including Hilda Doolittle, Wallace Stevens, and Marriane Moore. In 1909, he came back to Rutherford and paid for the publication of his first book, Poems, which only sold four copies. Williams’ married Florence Herman (1891-1976) in 1912 after his proposal to Florence’s older sister was refused (“The New York Times”). They settled down in Rutherford, where he ran a private medical practice for more than forty years. In 1913, Williams’ second poetry collection, The Tempers, was published. With the help of Pound, this poetry collection established Williams’ as an important voice in American Poetry. Williams watched his father slowly die of cancer in the winter of 1918. While he was on call, his father passed away, forever leaving Williams with doubts and questions. “The Clouds” was a poem Williams wrote about his father and the circumstances surrounding his death (Williams). Williams suffered from his first of many strokes in the 1940s. His health condition caused him to retire as physician in 1952. He died on March 4, 1963; due to a cerebral hemorrhage he had in his sleep at his home....
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