Poet William Carlos Williams once stated, “Crude symbolism is to associate emotions with natural phenomena such as anger with lightning, flowers with love…” (Llanas 57). This quote is an excellent example of Williams’ style of writing; his poetry represents the idea of Imagism excellently. Although his poetry was once referred to as “over-looked,” and “misunderstood,” later in his life, many aspiring writers looked to him and his writing for inspiration (Llanas 57-58). William Carlos Williams’ writing represents to the reader that ordinary life can be beautiful.
William Carlos Williams was born on September 17th, 1883 to Raquel Helene Hoheb Williams and William George Williams in Rutherford, New Jersey. His mother was of Puerto Rican descent, while his father was born in England and raised in the West Indies. His mother, Raquel, was an artist, and his father was a businessman. His love and interest for art and languages started at home, where his parents spoke both French and Spanish around the house (Llanas 47). Despite his interest in the artistic field, his parents pushed him to become a doctor, so in 1906, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a medical degree. Literature and medicine were his two occupations throughout the rest of his life (Llanas 47).
While Williams was enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania, he befriended fellow poet Ezra Pound. Pound was one of the major influences on Williams’ style of writing; after Pound reviewed one of his pieces, Williams ended up breaking free of the traditional style of writing expected (Llanas 49). The style that Pound turned Williams to was known as Imagism, which is known as one of the most influential movements in American history. Imagism is the idea of clear, sharp, distinct description of the subject of the poem. Both Pound and Williams were both some of the most well known imagists during their time (Conarroe 145).
In 1912, Williams married Florence Herman, whom he’d called “Flossie” (Llanas 49) . With her, he had two sons, and established a private medical office in his home town. Flossie stuck by him through all of his infidelity; an interviewer once asked Williams, “Do you want to make love to every single woman you meet?”. His response was, “ Yes, I do.” (Conarroe 147). Because of the Great Depression, Williams had lost a good amount of money in the stock market crash in the 1930’s (Llanas 49). Although many of his patients were too poor around this time to pay for their medical bills, he still continued to treat them as he worked overtime to pay the bills needed. Despite his profession, he still found time to write poems, short stories, plays, and even an autobiography. In total, he published close to fifty books in his entire life. (Llanas 49).
Throughout his late sixties, Williams suffered a series of strokes that caused him to retire from his career as a doctor, and made writing extremely difficult. Despite his dilapidating health, this poet continued to...