Historic literary work now calls Southeast Missouri State University home - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cape Girardeau, MO

Historic literary work now calls Southeast Missouri State University home

Historic literary work now calls Southeast Missouri State University home
By: Ryan Tate

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - William Carlos Williams is known for his influence on the Early Modernist Movement of the 20th Century. He is now going to influence students and staff at Southeast Missouri State University.

Michael Lund of Virginia donated an early work of Williams to Southeast Monday.  The poem is entitled "About a Little Girl," and dates back to 1921, when Williams was a doctor in New Jersey.

The "little girl" is Lund's mother. Williams practiced medicine and diagnosed Lund's mother with leukemia. After the diagnosis, he wrote the poem and gave it to Lund's grandmother.  She later passed it on to Lund's mother, who, ironically, lived until she was 91-years-old. She passed it on to her sons. They agreed to pass it on to Southeast Missouri State.

"I don't think my mother mentioned the poem to many people. She was a private person and it was part of her personal and family history," Lund said.

Lund remembers becoming aware of the significance of the work when he was in college. It was then that he read Williams, and it dawned on him the work hanging in the hallway of his parent's house was by Williams.

"My view of literature is that it belongs to people who read it. Possession of it is a kind of hoarding. I didn't see a point in that," Lund said.

He decided to donate it to Southeast after being invited to the university last fall. He was giving lessons about his own novels, when he saw the University's Center for Faulkner Studies and was shown the Louis Daniel Brodsky Collection of William Faulkner materials.  Lund grew up in Missouri, and his mother called Missouri home for 50 years.

"This is a national story in the literary world and we are proud here at Southeast to be a part of that," Dr. Robert Hamblin said. Hamblin is the Director for the Center of Faulkner Studies. "From a writer's perspective, it's inspirational. It's encouraging."

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