Born in Rutherford, New Jersey, near the city of Paterson, William Carlos Williams studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. There he became friends with Ezra Pound and Hilda Doolittle (later known as H. D.) and started to think of his medical career as a means of supporting himself while he composed poetry, even as he interned in New York City and pursued postgraduate studies in Germany. Williams made Rutherford his lifelong home and practiced medicine until he retired, writing at night and spending weekends in New York City with other writers and artists.
Williams consciously wrote poetry that provided a counterpoint to that of Frost, Pound, and Eliot. In his work, he wished to speak like an American within an American context of small cities, immigrants, and workers. He wanted his poetic line to reflect the rhythm of everyday speech and drew his subject matter from ordinary surroundings — a painting, a red wheelbarrow, a dish of plums. Williams’s collections include Spring and All (both poetry and prose; 1923); Paterson, which was published in five books (1946, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958); and Pictures from Brueghel (1962). Williams also wrote essays, some of which are collected in In the American Grain (1925).