William Carlos Williams

September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963

“The purpose of an artist, whatever it is, is to take the life, whatever he sees, and to raise it up to an elevated position where it has dignity.”

William Carlos Williams was a literary superhero: Mild-mannered physician by day, generation-influencing poet by night. Williams was raised in a Dominican/Puerto Rican home in New Jersey where mostly Spanish was spoken. But, it was his deft use of the English language that became his legacy. A leader in the Modernist and Imagist movements of poetry, Williams’ economical use of words in popular poems such as “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “This Is Just To Say” became imagist classics…though he and his contemporaries, like Ezra Pound, had “moved on” from the movement by the time the poems were published.

Williams sought to capture the American voice in his work. His epic, multi-volume work Paterson, explored the struggles of a decaying American town. He influenced painters and writers across generations including, but certainly not limited to, Allen Ginsburg and the Beat poet movement.

Williams received a number of accolades in his lifetime. He was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his final work, Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems. The last years of his life were plagued with health issues and unsubstantiated accusations of ties to Communism. In the end, he died at the age of 79 in his beloved New Jersey.


Hillside Cemetery – Lyndhurst, NJ

Specific Location

Enter through the 2nd gate along Orient Way and take a left at the large circle road. William is buried just past the triangular island on your left in the WILLIAMS plot, under a tree. His marker faces away from the road.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: