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July 3, 1967

The Autobiography of William Carlos Williams

Author Affiliations

Birmingham, Mich


402 pp, $6.50. New York: New Directions Publishing Corp., 1967.

JAMA. 1967;201(1):67-68. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130010093035

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This book, re-issued from a 1951 printing, is a candid account of 68 years of his life as William Carlos Williams remembers it. That his memories are not always correct— according to his wife and friends— is part the charm of this wry poetphysician from Rutherford, New Jersey. "Nine-tenths of our lives is well forgotten in the living," Williams writes; "A thin thread of narrative remains...."

Williams' narrative shows much more clearly than any of his poetry how important medicine was to his writing. Readers often asked the genial pediatrician how he found time for both—the medical practice which was truly general rather than specialized as his study would have warranted, and the writing of nearly 40 books: short stories, novels, essays, biography, plays, and the constant love of his life, poetry. All the books except four were published while Williams was a practicing physician.

As Williams saw the careers