Tuesday, July 19, 2005

"The Use of Force" by William Carlos Williams

Their daughter may be dying of diptheria, so the parents call in the country doctor, who does all he can to get the girl to cooperate. Consider now the title of this story and ask yourself who is being most forceful in this anecdote of blunt honesty. Read by Scoot.

America loves writers who aren't necessarily fulltime writers, but have another profession that is perhaps more remunerative. That may be one of the reasons William Carlos Williams was successful, for not only was he a poet (and occasional writer of fiction like this, and plays, and novels, and nonfiction), he was a medical practioner for over four decades. Dr. Williams is said to have delivered over two-thousand babies, and he numbered people such as James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, and Wallace Stevens among his many friends in the arts. One of the true inventers of modernity, he disliked the fancier forms used by another favorite American poet, Robert Frost, preferring to write, as Marianne Moore put it, "plain American which cats and dogs can read." Start, of course, with "The Red Wheelbarrow."

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