University News

William Paterson University to Host Conference on New Jersey Poet William Carlos Williams from June 16-18

--Conference to focus on Williams’s short story collection, Life Along the Passaic River

Life Along the Passaic River, the 1938 volume of short stories by the modern American poet and Rutherford native William Carlos Williams, sets the theme for the Fourth Biennial William Carlos Williams Society Conference to be held at William Paterson University in Wayne from June 16 to 18, 2011.

The conference, also titled “Life Along the Passaic River,” will focus on Williams’s engagement with people in the region, his role as an obstetrician and pediatrician, and his innovations in both prose and poetry. The event will include a keynote address by Christopher MacGowan, professor of English and associate chair of the English department at The College of William and Mary, and as well as presentations by Williams scholars from around the world, and a guided tour of along the Passaic River from the city of Paterson to Williams’s home in Rutherford.

MacGowan will open the conference on Thursday, June 16 at 7 p.m. with a presentation titled “Marriage Along the Passaic River,” to be held in the Cheng Library Auditorium on campus. One of the world’s leading authorities on the work of William Carlos Williams, as well as a specialist in modernism and modern poetry, he is the editor of The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume I (with A.Walton Litz) and Volume II, and of the revised edition of Williams’ epic poem, Paterson. He recently received a 2011 Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence from The College of William and Mary.

The conference will also include presentations on June 17 and 18 by Ian Copestake, University of Bamberg and secretary-treasurer of the William Carlos Williams Society; Christina Oltmann, McGill University; Beth Ann Sweens, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium; Julia Daniel, Loyola University of Chicago; Robert Tucker, University College, London; Stephen Hahn, William Paterson University; Paul Cappucci, Georgian Court University; Joshua Keiter, SUNY-Binghamton; Jeff Westover, Boise State University; Samantha Carrick, University of Southern California; and Rod Leith, Rutherford Borough historian.

The conference will conclude on Saturday, June 18, with a guided bus tour beginning in the city of Paterson and following the river in Passaic and Bergen counties to Williams’s home in Rutherford.

Admission to the conference is free and open to the public; admission to the guided tour is $25 and includes a box lunch. Registration for all events is required; for information, please visit

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