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Edited by Christopher MacGowan
10% off eBook (EPUB)
10% off Paperback
Categories: 20th Century, American, Bestsellers
Imprint: Carcanet Classics
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (336 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2023)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Mar 2023)
Hardback (352 pages)
(Pub. Feb 1993)
To use the EPUB version, you will need to have Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) installed on your device. You can find out more at https://www.adobe.com/uk/solutions/ebook/digital-editions.html. Please do not purchase this version if you do not have and are not prepared to install, Adobe Digital Editions.
William Carlos Williams (1883–1963), like his friend Ezra Pound, never finished his magnum opus, a poem as impossibly ambitious as the Cantos, but richly invested in the present world. It was published over a period of a dozen years (1946–1958) in five books, the sixth left incomplete. The first book was welcomed by the great American poet-critic Randall Jarrell. He called it 'the best thing Williams has ever written' – 'how wonderful and unlikely that this extraordinary mixture of the most delicate lyricism of perception and feeling with the hardest and homeliest actuality should ever have come into being! There has never been a poem more American.'
He was disappointed with the books that followed. But he was expecting an American epic while Williams was delivering something more original, Whitmanesque, an evocation of a New Jersey community (Paterson), a great American river (the Passaic) that powered its mill wheels, a confluence of human and natural worlds in conflicts and harmonies. It is a great poem about humankind and the environment it finds, exploits but cannot dominate. The style has been called documentary, but that hardly does justice to its subtleties of tone and its American patterns of sound. Williams trained as a physician and practised as a doctor all his life. His double vocation produced a poetry different in kind from the erudite and culturally knowing and allusive work of his contemporaries. Its subtleties are of another kind.
'William Carlos Williams, paediatrician by day, literary giant of the evening hours, is one of the great experimentalists of twentieth century American poetry, and this summer we can all enjoy a reprint of his long poem Paterson, named after a town in New Jersey, newly reimagined in this wild, invigorating, free-form, jazz-like patchwork of prose and poetry, whose language veers from the headily philosophical to the footloose and wayward.'
Michael Glover, The Tablet
Praise for William Carlos Williams 'This is an essential book for anyone who is serious about poetry.'
Steven Hanson, the Manchester Review of Books
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