The desert music of William Carlos Williams : the achievement of authentic expression : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in English at Massey University
It is the purpose of this essay to study the poetical works of William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) that are contained in The Desert Music collection in addition to a study of one poem "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower", included in the collection entitled Journey to Love. The Desert Music poems were first published in 1954, Journey to Love appeared one year later. Both these selections were subsequently published in 1962 in a cumulative volume entitled Pictures from Brueghel which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1963. It is this latter volume from which my textual quotations come. It has been my concern to consider these poems from a particular viewpoint, one which will be made clear in this essay, was of enduring interest to the poet himself. Throughout his long writing career Williams was deeply concerned to establish a distinct and significant literary tradition in the United States. Much of the literature that was written by Americans Williams felt to be, if not irrelevant, then only bearing partial relation to the people, events and peculiar experience of the United States. Literature written in the United States, he maintained, was to be authentic, it must reflect and explore the American experience. This work is an effort to document and examine William Carlos Williams' achievement of identity and genuine expression as an American poet.