Donated poem will be 'preserved and shared'

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

William Carlos Williams may have been a better poet than physician.

Monday at the Center for Falkner Studies, Michael and Carl Lund donated the unpublished manuscript of the poem the Pulitzer-Prize winner wrote for their mother, Marian Macy, when she was 11.

Williams had misdiagnosed Marian with leukemia. She left the poem, "About a Little Girl," to her sons when she died two weeks before her 92nd birthday.

Michael Lund read the poem to a crowd of about 40 as he officially presented it to Dr. Robert Hamblin, director of Southeast Missouri State University's Center for Faulkner Studies, who will store the poem in the rare book room.

"We're donating this to assure it can be preserved and shared," Michael Lund said.

Williams practiced medicine in Rutherford, N.J., where Macy was his patient. Macy later moved to Missouri, married and raised a family in Rolla.

"My mother always felt Missouri was home," Michael Lund said.

The poem will be published for the first time by the university. Its contents are not being released until then.

"The poem is crucial in looking at the development of Williams' poetry," Hamblin said, adding that it's among the poet's early works.

But Hamblin said the poem, much like Williams' prize-winning pieces, is "a blend of romantic versus the realistic."

"The real amazing story here is Williams was very much involved in the lives of his patients," said Michael Lund's wife, Anne. "It makes poets real people -- even the great poets."

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