Sunday, July 21, 2019 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

William Carlos Williams (1883 – 1963)

American poet and physician.
William Carlos Williams
Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?
Williams quotes
The War is the first and only thing in the world today.
The arts generally are not, nor is this writing a diversion from that for relief, a turning away. It is the war or part of it, merely a different sector of the field.
Poetry demands a different material than prose. It uses another facet of the same fact … the spontaneous conformation of language as it is heard.

Williams William Carlos quotes
Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches —
They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
The cold, familiar wind —
Williams William Carlos
The cries of a dying dog
are to be blotted out
as best I can.
René Char
you are a poet who believes
in the power of beauty
to right all wrongs.
I believe it also.
With invention and courage
we shall surpass
the pitiful dumb beasts,
let all men believe it,
as you have taught me also
to believe it.
William Carlos Williams quotes
Who isn’t frustrated and does not prove it by his actions — if you want to say so? But through art the psychologically maimed may become the most distinguished man of his age. Take Freud for instance.
William Carlos Williams
My first poem was a bolt from the blue … it broke a spell of disillusion and suicidal despondence. … it filled me with soul satisfying joy.
Williams William Carlos quotes
The earth cracks and
is shriveled up;
the wind moans piteously;
the sky goes out
if you should fail.
Being an art form, verse cannot be "free" in the sense of having no limitations or guiding principle.
Williams William Carlos
It's a strange world made up of disappointments for the most part.
I keep writing largely because I get a satisfaction from it which can't be duplicated elsewhere. It fills the moments which otherwise are either terrifying or depressed. Not that I live that way, work too quiets me. My chief dissatisfaction with myself at the moment is that I don't seem to be able to lose myself in what I have to do as I should like to.
William Carlos Williams
There’s nothing sentimental about a machine, and: A poem is a small (or large) machine made of words.

William Carlos Williams quotes
To tell the truth, I myself never quite feel that I know what I am talking about — if I did, and when I do, the thing written seems nothing to me. However, what I do write and allow to survive I always feel is worth while and that nobody else has ever come as near as I have to the thing I have intimated if not expressed. To me it's a matter of first understanding that which may not be put to words. I might add more but to no purpose. In a sense, I must express myself, you're right, but always completely incomplete if that means anything.
William Carlos Williams
I thought my friends were damn fools, because they didn't know any better way of conducting their lives. Still they conformed better than I to a code. I wanted to conform but I couldn't so I wrote my poetry.
Williams quotes
Prose may carry a load of ill-defined matters like a ship. But poetry is the machine which drives it, pruned to a perfect economy.
Williams William Carlos
There is no poetry of distinction without formal invention, for it is in the intimate form that works of art achieve their exact meaning, in which they most resemble the machine, to give language its highest dignity, its illumination in the environment to which it is native. Such war, as the arts live and breathe by, is continuous.
It may be that my interests as expressed here are pre-art. If so I look for a development along these lines and will be satisfied with nothing else.
Williams William Carlos quotes
What is the use of reading the common news of the day, the tragic deaths and abuses of daily living, when for over half a lifetime we have known that they must have occurred just as they have occurred given the conditions that cause them? There is no light in it. It is trivial fill-gap. We know the plane will crash, the train be derailed. And we know why. No one cares, no one can care. We get the news and discount it, we are quite right in doing so. It is trivial. But the haunted news I get from some obscure patient's eyes is not trivial. It is profound.
William Carlos Williams
Your case has been reviewed by high-minded
and unprejudiced observers (like hell
they were!) the president of a great
university, the president of a noteworthy
technical school and a judge too old to sit
on the bench, men already rewarded for
their services to pedagogy and the enforcement
of arbitrary statutes. In other words
pimps to tradition —
William Carlos Williams quotes
So different, this man
And this woman:
A stream flowing
In a field.
William Carlos Williams
One thing I am convinced more and more is true and that is this: the only way to be truly happy is to make others happy. When you realize that and take advantage of the fact, everything is made perfect.
Williams William Carlos
It is in tune with the tempo of life — scattered yet welded into the whole, — broken, yet woven together.

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