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WILLIAMS, William Carlos. A Book of Poems. Al Que Quiere! Boston: The Four Seas Company, 1917.
WILLIAMS, William Carlos. A Book of Poems. Al Que Quiere! Boston: The Four Seas Company, 1917.

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WILLIAMS, William Carlos. A Book of Poems. Al Que Quiere! Boston: The Four Seas Company, 1917.

12o. Original yellow printed boards (some wear along front joint and spine). Provenance: Florence "Flossie" Williams, the author's wife (presentation inscription).

"WHO SHALL SAY I AM NOT THE HAPPY GENIUS OF MY HOUSEHOLD" (from "Danse Russe")

FIRST EDITION OF WILLIAMS'S SECOND COMMERCIALLY PRINTED BOOK. PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY THE POET TO HIS WIFE on the front free endpaper: "To Flossie from Billie With best love. Jan 7 1918." WITH WILLIAMS'S EMENDATIONS TO THREE LINES OF "PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN IN BED" (p.45): Williams has crossed out the final two lines of the second stanza ("though it would be cold lying with nothing on!" and has changed the second line of the third stanza to read: "and I've no cash" (from "I've got no cash"). As with The Tempers, Williams sent $50 to help defray the costs of printing. He consciously wanted the book to follow the format of the popular Songs from Vagabondia by Richard Hovey and Bliss Carman, even using the same "Bourgeoise" type.

Al Que Quiere! contains early intimations of the style with which Williams would become best known, most notably in "Pastoral," "Summer Song," "Metric Figure," "Riposte" and the magnificently simple "Danse Russe," which captures some of the poet's domestic sentiments: "If I when my wife is sleeping and the baby and Kathleen are sleeping and the sun is a flame-white disc in silken mists..." Paul Mariani calls it "Williams' first representative volume... a strong book with no waste" (Mariani, p.145). Williams, a practicing obstetrician who in his career delivered more than 3000 babies in one of the poorest sections of Rutherford, New Jersey, composed most of his poems in the late hours of the day, after his work had ended and the family had gone to sleep.

This copy is in the presumed first issue binding, measuring 6 5/16 x 4 9/16 inches and with "Williams" spelled correctly on the spine. AN EXTREMELY FINE ASSOCIATION: No other book by Williams inscribed to his wife has appeared at auction, according to American Book Prices Current. Wallace A3.
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