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April 1, 1968

William Carlos Williams: Poet-Physician of Rutherford

JAMA. 1968;204(1):15-20. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140140017004

"How do you find the time, Doc?" people were always asking the genial New Jersey physician, as he published book after book in the midst of his busy medical career.

"It's not finding time, it's using it," Williams would reply gruffly. "Two parts of a whole," he called medicine and poetry. And he wrote in his Autobiography,

As a writer I have never felt that medicine interfered with me but rather that it was my very food and drink, the very thing that made it possible for me to write. Was I not interested in men? There the thing was, right in front of me.

Modest as Williams was about his two occupations, his energy gives most of us pause. In this era of hypertension, a person like William Carlos Williams is a rarity. He survived the pressures of not one job, but two. Strong in his ambition to create,