I Wanted to Write an Essay: William Carlos Williams and his Relationship with Editor David McDowell

Schweers, Benjamin

St. Mary's University, Texas, US.

Using the correspondence of poet and physician William Carlos Williams, this paper examines the unique relationship between Williams and one of his editors David McDowell. Utilizing just a handful of letters from the William Carlos Williams collection from the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin, this essay highlights the diverse nature of the correspondence between the writer and his editor. Motivated by the relatively unexplained absence of David McDowell in biographical works on Williams, the essay explores how their partnership contrasts with our traditional ideas about what an editor does, as well as the role this unique relationship played in the latter part of Williams’s career.