William Carlos Williams: Sight, Mind, and the Imagination

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William Carlos Williams, imagination, poetry, literary criticism, creative writing


Comparative Literature | Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Poetry


William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), pediatrician, novelist, critic, and above all, poet, felt driven to write poetry because, essentially,

The beauty of

the terrible faces

of our non-entities

stirs me to it


He would have been quick to argue, however, against the idea of conventional aesthetic criteria, finding "beautiful" that which was intrinsically whole. This belief is expressed in the Introduction of the Collected Later Poems:

Therefore each speech having its own character the poetry it engenders will be peculiar to that speech also in its own intrinsic form. The effect is beauty, what in a single object resolves our complex feelings of propriety. One doesn't seek beauty.

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