William Carlos Williams: The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

“The Red Wheelbarrow” is probably one of William Carlos Williams’ best known poems. For a poem of such simplicity, it displays a uniquely American “truth.” According to the biographical section prior to the poems, Williams was a physician in a small American town. His work references the stuff of his life and he uses his local experiences to suggest a certain social experience. Williams’ wrote “no ideas but in things” and his poetry reflects that connection (2009). By referencing the wheelbarrow and chickens, he provides a sort of tableau of Americanism that still has room for individual interpretation. In my head I see an image of a red wheelbarrow covered in rainwater, next to chickens, almost like a photograph. The rest seems to be up to the reader’s interpretation.

In the biography section, Wallace Stevens is quoted as writing: “not ideas about the thing but the thing itself” (2009). How do the poetic styles of Stevens and Williams compare? Were their aims similar?

This entry was posted in William Carlos Williams. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s