William Carlos Williams

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In "A Sort of Song," Carlos Williams writes,"No ideas but in things." How might this relate to"The Red Wheelbarrow"? What does that poem achieve? William Carlos Williams.

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In A sort of Song and in The Red Wheelbarrow , Williams confronts "how" a poem should be written. It should not be used as a vehicle for expressing ideas but showing the essence of things. He was one of the first imagist poets. His poem The Red Wheelbarrow also confronts the way a poem should be written. In his poem he is saying that the subject matter of a poem should be in the things, themselves, not in ideas or beliefs or any abstract concept. He shows us, as readers, how...

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While caring for a sick child at the child's home Williams, a paedtrician by profession, looked outside the window and saw the wet red wheelbarrow. He wrote this poem quickly in less than five minutes just like an impressionist painter  would paint quickly in order to capture the precise quality of light of a particular moment: "glazed with rain/water" - if he had delayed writing the poem the wetness would have dried up and the glaze would have disappeared.

"The Red Wheelbarrow" (1923) is one of Willaims' early poems and is influenced by 'Precisionism' an artistic movement in America which peaked during the interwar period. 'Precision' artists shunned European influences, and as the term itself suggests their paintings were very objective and clearly defined almost like the 'photorealists' of the next generation. Just before Williams wrote this poem Williams had met Charles Sheeler the photographer journalist and a self-proclaimed 'precisionist.'

The poem expresses in the starkest and simplest manner possible the practical usefulness of a wheelbarrow on a farm. There is a sharp ironic contrast-almost haiku like- between the sick room 'inside' and the daily routine of the practical affairs of the farmhouse 'outside.'

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