Friday, October 09, 2009

A special 500th posting ..William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) The complete collected poems of William Carlos Williams 1938.. A special poet and book.

William Carlos Williams was one of the giants in the world of prose in the 20th century. He wrote much, but it took long for him to gain the fame that his work was to receive. It really was not till after World War Two that he started his climb to fame and prominence among writers and poets. But once that happened his climb was meteoric. I thought that my 500th posting on this now massive blog should be about something and someone special. I believe that Williams fits that bill.Williams was a pediatrician and delivered many babies in the New Jersey area where he lived. When he was not dealing with issues of children or health, he was writing poems and short stories. He of course even wrote plays and there is a program from one in this blog already. His career as a doctor went back to 1912 when he moved into the Rutherford New Jersey area. He would live in Rutherford for 51 years.
Williams in his doctors office in Rutherford, New Jersey. He practiced medicine till the early 1950's when his health gave out on him. he suffered a heart attack in the late 1940's and his health was always delicate after that. In fact he was treated for depression in the early 1950's as well. His health went down hill after that, He suffered a series of strokes and finally died in his sleep in 1963.

He was a good doctor and a good writer. It was not an easy career to do both, but he did. Many a person walks this earth not knowing that they were delivered by one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.
One of his prescriptions.

His early writings and books are rare. How many of these prescriptions and early books have survived? Not many I am sure, His first book in his early days was self published. The next batch of books were published by many companies.
Before long his books were being published by New Directions In Connecticut. The first being "The Complete Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams". However as his books were at the time were wanted by a small and limited audience, they were printed in small numbers. To find one of William's early books today is truly a most lucky find. In fact many of his early books were printed in numbers that seem outrageous today. Often a printing of 500 books would be enough.

Today William is looked at as one of the greats in the field of poetry, prose and creative writing. He is known to have influenced many of the beat poets and that generation. His work is looked at with high regard and he is often compared to others in the Pantheon of the greats like Whitman.

One of William's more important books. It was published by New Directions. A total of 506 copies were made in this 1st edition. You can see the list of books that he had written up to that time. It was an impressive amount.
This book has one of those rare inscriptions.