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Monday, June 20, 2011

William Carlos Williams - XXII

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.


I deliberately avoided titling the post "The Red Wheelbarrow," for the poem has no title other than XXII, which denoted its place in an anthology.  Giving it a title is giving the reader a crutch that they should not used, for it is also a lens which may inappropriately color one's reading of the poem.

For me, the main fascination I have with this poem lies in its precision and brevity.  It is strictly representational, offering a clear picture of a real scene.  By speaking in the plainest terms possible, Williams conveys an easily imagined scene.  In doing so, he also uses as few words as possible.  Too many words would interrupt that space he created, between strict representation and imagination.  We can all picture "a" red wheelbarrow, glazed with rain water.  Williams realizes that it is impossible to convey to us "the" red wheelbarrow.  So much depends on that scene, as he says, because that scene he describes is reality itself.  Reality depends on reality, and tautological as that may be, it is the idea that Williams conveys.  It is subjective experience, clearly displayed in a way everyone can understand, and yet, no exact duplication can occur.  That is why "so much depends" upon that scene.  It's a scene presented in such a way that allows us to experience our joint unique natures.

For some reason, short form poetry is very attractive to me.  To be able to say something profound with precision, clarity, and beauty is truly remarkable.  It's something that is recreated in other art forms as well.  In music, I think of Webern and his bagatelles, which are so short, but say so much.  Expect to see many other short poems discussed at length in the future.

What do you think of short form poetry?  Does Williams' Imagist writing seem pointless to you, or do you see, as I do, a slice of subjective real life?

3 comments:

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  2. hey nimra do you feel there is any poetry which is not attractive
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