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Poetry in Translation (CLXXIV): William Carlos Williams (1883- 1963), American Poet, “The Old Man”, “Bătrânii”

March 28th, 2013 · No Comments · International Media, Poetry, quotations, Translations

Poetry in Translation (CLXXIV): William Carlos Williams (1883- 1963), American Poet, “The Old Man”, “Bătrânii”

William Carlos WILLIAMS

William Carlos WILLIAMS

The Old Men
(William Carlos WILLIAMS, American poet, 1883-1963)

Old men who have studied
every leg show
in the city
Old men cut from touch
by the perfumed music—
polished or fleeced skulls
that stand before
the whole theater
in silent attitudes
of attention,—
old men who have taken precedence
over young men
and even over dark-faced
husbands whose minds
are a street with arc-lights.
Solitary old men for whom
we find no excuses—
I bow my head in shame
for those who malign you.
Old men
the peaceful beer of impotence
be yours!

William Carlos WILLIAMS American Poet

William Carlos WILLIAMS
American Poet


Bătrânii
(William Carlos WILLIAMS, Statele Unite, 1883-1963)

Bătrânii care au văzut
fiacare cabaret
din oraş
Bătrânii trăind în altă lume
în parfumul muzicii –
având chelia bine lustruită
aşezati în rândul întâi
al teatrului
cu atenţia calmă
şi tăcută,
bătrânii care au întâietate
faţă de cei tineri
sau chiar faţă de chipurile sumbre
ale soţilor cu imaginaţia
unor bulevarde luminate de neon –
Bătrânii stingheri
pentru care nu mai avem nici o scuză
Mă înclin stânjenit
în numele celor ce vă ponegresc.
Oameni buni,
vinul linşitit al impotenţei
fie al vostru!

(Rendered in Romanian by Constantin ROMAN, London,
© 2013 Copyright Constantin ROMAN)

William Carlos WILLIAM

William Carlos WILLIAM

Short Biography:

William Carlos Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey. Since early school days, he decided to become both a writer and a doctor. He received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania, where Ezra Pound became a friend and mentor.

In 1913 Pound arranged in London the publication of Williams’s second collection, The Tempers by which time Williams returned to Rutherford, where he started his medical practice and began in parallel his prolific career as a poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright.

After Pound, he was one of the principal poets of the Imagist movement, though, as time went on, he began to disagree with the values put forth in the work of Pound and especially Eliot, who he felt were too attached to European culture and traditions. By contrast, Williams sought to invent an entirely new—and singularly American—poetic, whose subject matter was centered on the everyday lives of common people.

At the beginning, he felt that his influence was overshadowed, by the huge popularity of Eliot’s. However, by the 1950s and 1960s Williams’ work received increasing attention, as the younger generation of poets, like Allen Ginsberg and the Beats, were impressed by the accessibility of his language and his openness as a mentor.

Amongst his major works are Kora in Hell (1920), Spring and All (1923), Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962), the five-volume epic Paterson (1963, 1992), and Imaginations (1970).

In 1948, after a heart attack and a series of strokes, Williams continued writing, until his death in New Jersey, in 1963.

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