If you look at the lingua franca of American poetry today—a colloquial free verse focused on visual description and meaningful anecdote—it seems clear that William Carlos Williams is the twentieth-century poet who has done most to influence our very conception of what poetry should do, and how much it does not need to do. Why is it, then, that almost fifty years after his death, the reputation of Williams still seems to be haunted by a ghost of uncertainty?
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