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THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

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Williams, William Carlos
Typed letter signed ("Williams"), 1 page (11 x 8  1/2  in.; 278 x 216 mm), n. p., 25 January 1948, to Arioste Londechard (pseud. of James Finley); horizontal folds, few minute nicks at edges.
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Writing one week before suffering a severe heart attack, the poet and physician expresses his unhappiness with his work load, his depression and the weather.  It was at this time that Williams was struggling with his epic poem Paterson; in addition, he had been promoted against his wishes to head of pediatrics at his hospital.  He suffered his heart attack while trying to free his car from a snowbank while on his way home from a late night at the hospital.

"I don't know how you do it, though there was a time, I suppose when I too had what it takes to go on and on and on with what might have passed perhaps for a warm and happy heart.  This is no sob story.  Right now my uterus is hanging out.

"I've received your letters but I could not answer them.  I had nothing to say.  The work strangles me but I have no heart to go beyond it.  I simply have to work, I have to work literally until it kills me. ... I'm physically tired from driving this snow, day after day.  But my mind is more tired than that."

Arioste Londechard / James Finley was a young poet who also corresponded with Ezra Pound and E. E. Cummings.

 

THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

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