William Carlos Williams was born on September 17, 1883 in Rutherford, New Jersey. Like Chekhov, he studied medicine and became a country doctor before he discovered his potential as a writer. He earned his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and began practicing as a pediatrician in his hometown of Rutherford (near the present-day Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford) before publishing his first literary work, ‘Poems,’ in 1909.
He wrote stories, plays and autobiographies as well as poems. His most memorable achievement is probably his five books of poetry about the humble and downtrodden Northern New Jersey city of Paterson, which few people would have seen as a fit subject for an epic poem. “No ideas but in things,” he writes in the first page, and to hammer the point home he studs this unpretentious but dramatic work with ancient newspaper articles, anecdotes and letters from friends and admirers. One of the letter-writers was A.G., an enthusiastic young poet admirer from Paterson. This was the then-unknown Allen Ginsberg.
Williams wrote the introduction for Ginsberg’s first book of poetry, “Howl and Other Poems”, in 1955. He died on March 4, 1963, the same year he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature.
Here is a bibliography of Williams’ works