Something Urgent I Have to Say to You: The Life and Works of William Carlos Williams
Friends with most of the contemporary innovators of his era—Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Ford Madox Ford, and Louis Zukofsky, among others—William Carlos Williams made a radical break with the modernist tradition by seeking to invent a fresh American poetic, whose subject matter derived from the everyday lives of the citizens and immigrant communities of northern New Jersey. Pugnacious and kindly, ambitious and insecure, self-critical and imaginative, Williams is seen here in a rounded portrait of a complicated man, whose poems mirrored the conflicts of his own life and the convulsions that afflicted American society through two world wars, a rampaging flu pandemic, and the Great Depression.
"Unlike any other studies of this figure, Leibowitz's study of the good doctor Williams leaves us in no doubt of his troubled and troubling character. Something Urgent I Have to Say to You is the first effectively intimate life-and-works study of a still uncertainly placed modern figure to offer a quandary, not a condolence call, a judgment that is neither a reassurance nor a bum's rush.... Herbert Leibowitz enables us to make the first grown-up reading of a man who has hitherto been offered as an adolescent hero or a childish hooligan." —Richard Howard