Mr. Leibowitz has written an acutely detailed, searching, and indeed discovering
biography of an operose human being, the beloved New Jersey doctor and poet (and novelist and patriot-critic and autobiographer) William Carlos Williams, whose ever-provisional, always exploratory, and often experimental art was invariably committed to the illusive presentment of simplicity, familiarity, and even normality. Unlike any other studies of this figure, Leibowitz's study of the good doctor Williams leaves us in no doubt of his troubled and troubling character. 'Something Urgent I Have to Say to You'
is the first effectively intimate life-and-works study of a still uncertainly placed modern figure to offer a quandary, not a condolence call, a judgment that is neither a reassurance nor a bum's rush. Patiently yet sportively, Herbert Leibowitz enables us to make the first grown-up reading of a man who has hitherto been offered as an adolescent hero or a childish hooligan. A valuable achievement! (Richard Howard
Besides being a famously exacting editor, Herbert Leibowitz is a writer of exceptional gifts--elegant prose, critical sensitivity, keen empathy, and narrative grace. In the protean career of William Carlos Williams, he has found his ideal subject. His searching account of Williams's life and personality, as seen through the prism of his work, makes for irresistible reading. (Morris Dickstein, author of Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression
In 'Something Urgent I Have to Say to You'
Williams--inarguably a twentieth-century American master--is lovingly (but not uncritically) assessed in a twenty-first-century masterpiece of literary biography and analysis. With a fan's enthusiasm and a scholar's rigor, Herbert Leibowitz has given us a bountiful, beautiful project-of-a-lifetime book, the capacious embrace of which is made all the more amazing and all the more enduring by its author's own sentence-by-sentence demonstration of verbal solidity wedded to verbal felicity. (Albert Goldbarth
About the Author
Herbert Leibowitz has been the editor of the literary magazine Parnassus since he helped found it in 1973. He lives in New York City.