The Value of a Good Writer-Editor Relationship

Right here.

This diffidence never left him: when he was preparing his last book for the press, Leibowitz writes, Williams grew so anguished that he “tore the manuscript to pieces and dumped them in the trash.” His wife had to fish out the fragments and mail them to his publisher, James Laughlin of New Directions, “who put them together like a jigsaw puzzle.”

And then this:

Laughlin referred to Williams, one of his most prized authors, as “a non-cutaneous man.” So are most poets, perhaps, but not many have had to contend with the degree of neglect and condescension that plagued Williams throughout his career. Spring and All, the 1923 collection that included three of his masterpieces—”By the road to the contagious hospital,” “The Red Wheelbarrow,” and “To Elsie”—was published by a small press in an edition of 324 copies, “most of which went unsold.” A collection of stories called The Knife of the Times appeared in 1932; a doctor friend of Williams’s later found a hundred of them being sold by a hawker on the Atlantic City boardwalk for 15 cents apiece.


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