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This report is taken from PN Review 96, Volume 20 Number 4, March - April 1994.

The Poem Method: an unpublished text by William Carlos Williams Anthony Rudolf

The letters to me from Claude Vigée are virtually self-explanatory. After translating them I checked my own copy of Williams' Collected Earlier Poems. The line Vigée refers to in his second letter now reads 'quick with desire'. Undoubtedly this is a further improvement on the revision Williams himself made in Vigée's copy of his book. In a later letter to Vigée I pointed this out. He agrees with me, as most readers would. Finally, it has just emerged that Milton Hindus, contributor to PNR and, like Vigée, a Menard author, chaired the Williams evening and organised the 'Modern Poetry Course'. Other visitors included Auden and Frost.

*

Paris, April 28 1993

Dear Anthony
Thank you for your letter about the William Carlos Williams notes which I sent you for your own interest, but which I am quite happy for PNR to publish. The transcription which follows is of words spoken by Williams on the evening of 2 November 1949 at Brandeis University in Massachussetts, where I was teaching French at the time. He gave a talk as part of the 'Modern Poetry Course', followed by a reading of his poems. At the request of many participants in the 1949-50 course, some of my colleagues and I collated the notes we had taken while Williams was speaking. On 16 November 1949 these notes were duplicated and distributed to those members of the 'Modern Poetry Course' who wanted to study Williams' thoughts more closely. ...


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