Montclair State University Theatre and Dance professor and director of the Creative Research Center Dr. Neil Baldwin was featured on the latest episode of Carpe Diem, a weekly news magazine from the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State. Dr. Baldwin discussed his acclaimed biography of the renowned innovator of American poetry To All Gentleness: William Carlos Williams, The Doctor-Poet, which chronicles the life of the Rutherford, New Jersey native who wrote from the perspective of a doctor and practiced medicine with the compassion of a poet.
“The poem springs from the half-spoken words of such patients as the physician sees from day to day.” Words by Dr. Williams, who often wrote on the back of prescription pads while tending to patients at his Rutherford practice, are testament that his clinical practice and artistry were intertwined. Carpe Diem host Krystal Acosta sat down with Dr. Baldwin — a cultural historian, literary critic, and biographer — to discuss Williams’s diverse talents and explore his artistic and professional struggles.
The in-depth interview examines the creative process of the New Jersey native who found artistic inspiration in his practice and patients, shared perspectives on his home state, and reflected on his love of nature. The episode also features family members and patients of the poet at event at the Meadowlands Museum which celebrated Williams’ life and the babies he helped deliver along the way.
The book, originally published in hardcover by Atheneum, was released in 2008 in paperback by InPrint Editions/Black Classic Press (Baltimore) to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Williams’s birth. It examines his work as a local country doctor and prolific writer of poetry, stories, novels, plays and essays; his complex nightlife in the Bohemian circles of Greenwich Village; as well as the long and loving friendships he shared with literary superstars such as Ezra Pound and Hilda Doolittle.
Dr. Baldwin is currently at work on a new biography, Martha Graham: When Dance Became Modern, to be published by Alfred A. Knopf.
Carpe Diem is an award-winning news and culture student production which covers topics in New Jersey and on the campus of Montclair State. This episode was hosted by series producer, Krystal Acosta and directed by Television and Digital Media major, Amanda Martinez.
Watch the episode on the “Doctor Poet” here.