William Carlos Williams was an American poet who renounced poetic diction in favor of the unpoetic, establishing himself in American Modernism as a powerful voice distinct from such canonical contemporaries as T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. His attitude towards literary production was different from many of his contemporaries in that he believed ‘the idea is in the thing’ and therefore the presence of objects rather than abstractions is strongly felt in his poems. A critical survey of Williams’ poems indicates that the poet/physician observes, describes and levels criticism at his society where modernism has transformed the American identity in significant ways. In this article, American icons and popular culture are retraced in the poetry of William Carlos Williams in an effort to explain the seeming opacity of his poems.
Dr. Laleh Atashi is Lecturer of English literature at Shiraz University, Iran. Her work focuses on cultural studies, literature and painting and children’s literature.