What are the main poetic characteristics of the American poet William Carlos Williams?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Certainly, at first glance, the poetry of William Carlos Williams seems to be very curious. In fact, when he first started writing poems like "This Is Just to Say," nobody took him seriously. Typically, his lines do not have any meter and no rhyme. No figurative language is used and no other "normal" elements of poetry were utilised except for imagery and a very unique sense of rhtyhm. Often punctuation was completely absent as well. However, these are elements of his own poetic style, which he called objectivism.

William Carlos Williams in his poetry tried to focus on the reality of individual life and its surroundings. In his poetry, he tried to cut out any unnecessary elements and returned to the bare necessities. Thus we can see that his work does not include frequent allusions like his two contemporaries, Pound and Eliot.

Thus we can see that what characterises the style of Williams is his concise and sparse writing, focusing on everyday topics. For Williams, the supposedly "boring" and commonplace topics of, for example, a red wheelbarrow, schoolgirls walking down a street, and a piece of paper blowing in the wind all became topics of his poetry. Through which, of course, he hoped to evoke the power and wonder of the ordinary.

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