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Yes, Mrs. Williams

I started reading William Carlos Williams biography of his mother last night. It is promising to be great -- it is taken from dialog with her at the end of her life, when they were translating Quevedo's "El perro y la calentura" together (from a copy that Ezra Pound had given him!) -- kind of as a pretext for getting her to talk in a situation where he could surreptitiously be taking notes. (2 things about that text -- it is apparently not by Quevedo but by Pedro Espinosa, long misattributed to Quevedo; and the Williams translation is available from New Directions, in print.)

How does it begin? I asked her.

It begins with two men walking in the fields and talking.

Oh yes, I said, una novella peregrina. Let's begin:

So we began. It served its purpose which was to draw out her comments. Let her come first, her childhood and early years, in her own words exactly as she told it.

I heard about this book, and got inspired to read it, from Marta Aponte, who is currently working on a novel about Mrs. Williams. Williams himself wrote in one of his letters (according to a fragment of Aponte's work) that it was his most important book.

posted evening of September 30th, 2014: Respond
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