Sunday, June 29, 2014

William Carlos Williams - Poetry

The blurb before the poem here (reminder: this book) says that William Carlos Williams 'was notable for writing about things, not ideas'.  This poem, titled 'The Red Wheelbarrow' certainly fits.  Both the poet and the poem are new to me.

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

And that's it.  We don't know anything else about the wheelbarrow or what it's needed for.  (The Stephen King fan in me can think of some scenarios...)  We know that there is a need.  We know that it is raining, or recently has been.  There are chickens nearby, so this could be a farm.  And with those clues, you can put together your own story.
I don't know if I like this or not.  I want to know more and, of course, I can't.  I can make up a story, and in fact, I'm almost forced to do so.  But isn't that a trick?  I mean, the poem is gimmicky, there's no question of that.  But some gimmicks work and others don't.  If I wrote a simple poem like 'I don't want to trust/That man behind you...', then I've written a poem of sorts (and even tried to create drama) but the trick is cheap and common.
No, I don't think that I like it.

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