Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Things I learned about Williams Carlos Williams from John Felstiner, plus one correction

In the chapters on William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) in John Felstiner's "Can Poetry Save the Earth? A Field Guide to Nature Poems" (2009), I have learned several things about Williams: he attended school in Switzerland in his mid-teens; his mother was from Puerto Rico), while his father, though born in England, grew up in the Dominican Republic; "during the flu epidemic of 1918 he made sixty house calls a day"; he called Emily Dickinson "my patron saint"; and his mother Raquel Hélène Hoheb Williams lived to be 102. But this last point is apparently wrong: according to her gravestone, Raquel Williams was born in 1856 and died in 1949 at 92. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 21 June 2023)

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