He did not live to complete the book he planned about her, but his projected Paterson, Book VI clearly revealed the essentially romantic sensibility she had nurtured.
In a letter to Alva Turner one of the many amateur poets with whom he frequently correspondedWilliams assessed the profits of the pen: "Meanwhile I receive in royalties for my last two books the munificent sum of one hundred and thirty dollars—covering the work of a ten or fifteen year period, about twelve dollars a year.
Beginning with his internship in the decrepit "Hell's Kitchen" area of New York City and throughout his 40 years of private practice in Rutherford, Williams heard the "inarticulate poems" of his patients.
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A doctor for more than 40 years serving the citizens of Rutherford, he relied on his patients, the America around him, and his own ebullient imagination to create a distinctively American verse.
Perhaps a less subjective appraisal came from Webster Schott, who defined Williams as "an immensely complicated man: energetic, compassionate, socially conscious, depressive, urbane, provincial, tough, fastidious, capricious, independent, dedicated, completely responsive.
The Desert Music and Journey to Love, he said, "were written in an unusual period of recovery of creative power after Dr. Book IV, which takes place at the currently polluted mouth of the river, seems an exception to the affirmations of most of his work.