CAPE GIRARDEAU — A 1921 poem by William Carlos Williams has been published, along with its story, by Southeast Missouri State University.
The typed, signed manuscript of the poem was donated last year to the university by grandsons of the woman for whom the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet wrote it.
The manuscript had been in Ethel Woodruff Macy’s family for three generations, until her grandsons donated it to the rare book room of the university’s Kent Library.
Williams’ estate, which has literary rights to the poem, “About a Little Girl,” had it published for the first time last year in The Paris Review.
Williams, both a literary figure and a medical doctor in Rutherford, N.J., wrote “About a Little Girl” in 1921 after diagnosing Macy’s daughter with leukemia when she was 11 years old. The diagnosis was wrong and the child, Marian Macy, lived just short of 92.
“’About a Little Girl’: A William Carlos Williams Poem and Its Legacy,” by Michael Lund and Robert Hamblin, includes the poem’s text, an essay on its history, a critical commentary on the poem, photos of the figures and essays by two of Williams’ granddaughters.