William Carlos Williams
Both a poet and a physician, Williams (1983-1963) was extremely prolific throughout his career. During World War I, he established himself among the avant-garde in New York City; his work came to be associated with the Imagist and Modernist movements; and he is credited with having invented the stepped triadic line and the variable foot concept. But all that glosses over the beauty of Williams's precise and clear free-form style (Marianne Moore once wrote that Williams used "plain American which cats and dogs can read"). Williams sought to capture a natural American voice, and—always a keen observer—he drew his subjects from "the local," the immediate. (Some of his most widely-anthologized works are "The Red Wheelbarrow," "This Is Just to Say," "To a Poor Old Woman," and "The Great Figure.") Williams influenced many of the 1950s American literary movements and he personally mentored Theodore Roethke, Denise Levertov, and Allen Ginsberg, among others. His home in Rutherford is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.