Two American Poets

Wallace Stevens & William Carlos Williams

From the

Collection of Alan M. Klein

Publications and Ephemera

These journals and anthologies from various small presses in this section ranging over a forty year period are a sampling of the publications in which the work of Stevens and Williams appeared together. Not infrequently, as a result, a reader of contemporary poetry in publications in the period from World War I through the mid-1950s was reading Stevens and Williams together, along with other exemplars of American mid-century Modernism such as Cummings, Eliot and Moore together with Frost and Sandburg. A reader of the output of the Alcestis Press in the 1930s and of the Cummington Press in the 1940s was also certainly reading both Stevens and Williams.

Stevens had gained a kind of stature by the end of the 1930s still sought then by Williams for his verse, a stature Williams did not achieve until the acclaim he received for his volumes of Paterson, starting with Paterson (Book One) in 1946. The relative progress of their reputations can be seen in the fact that Stevens had an issue of the Harvard Advocate (which Stevens had edited as a Harvard undergraduate forty years earlier) devoted to him in 1940, with Williams’s participation, while Williams had to wait until 1946 for the Briarcliff Quarterly to have a William Carlos Williams issue, with Stevens’s participation.

The recordings of acclaimed poets reading at Harvard put out in 1978 would not have been complete without contributions from both Stevens and Williams, nor would the U.S. postal stamp issue of ten American poets in 2012 have been complete without iconic images of both of them.

For more information on the publications in this Collection, see Stevens and Williams Together: Publications and Ephemera.