|Dr. William Carlos Williams|
Poet William Carlos Williams was born this date -- September 17 -- in 1883. He was a significant influence on the Beat generation writers, especially Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg discusses a 1957 visit he and Jack Kerouac and Gregory Corso and Peter Orlovsky paid to Williams here
. Ginsberg says Kerouac romanced up Williams' wife, Flossie, in the kitchen. According to Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia, when the visitors asked him to impart some wisdom, the 73-year-old Williams pointed out the window and smiled, saying, "'There's a lot of bastards out there'" (Memory Babe
, 1994, p. 541).
You can read a little bit about Williams on the Friends of Kerouac site here
. And, of course, you can Google him for more. Williams wrote the introduction to Ginsberg's most famous poem, "Howl."
Williams was Doctor Musial in Kerouac's The Dharma Bums.
In Memory Babe
, Gerald Nicosia says Kerouac's writing style was influenced by Williams' "attempt to write with the 'measured pauses' of speech" (1994, p. 453).
Before presenting one of Williams' more well-known poems, I want to point out that he was not just an acclaimed poet, but also a practicing physician in his hometown of Rutherford, N.J.
I love the following poem by Williams. This version is from Poetry Foundation, a comprehensive poetry site where you can read a bio of Williams here
Happy Birthday, Dr. Williams!