William Carlos Williams

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Describe the poems "The Red Wheelbarrow" and "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams and type of style used. If you had to describe these poems to your students, what would you point out?

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William Carlos Williams was one of the leading poets of the Imagist school, a branch of Modernism that aimed to break with the sentimental, elaborate style of late Victorian poetry and focus on hard, clear, pared-down images. The Imagists were particularly influenced by Chinese and Japanese poetry, especially the way in which a short poem would present the reader with a simple image, free from commentary or context.

In "The Red Wheelbarrow ," I would point out that Williams presents us with just such a simple image in a bright primary color, glazed with rain and beside white chickens. This is a picture anyone can visualize immediately. By telling us that so much depends on it, he fixes the image in the reader's head, identifying it as important without suggesting just what we ought to think and feel. In "This is Just to Say," he makes a poem out of the type of note that people who share a house are always leaving for each other. With the possible exception of the final stanza, the...

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