William Carlos Williams

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William Carlos Williams poems are greatly influenced by the imagery involved throughout them. The forms of the poems help to convey the themes of each, as well as highlighting their major points. The four poems I’m going to look at are “The Red Wheelbarrow”, “Portrait of a Lady”, “Danse Russe”, and “This Is Just To Say”. Each of these poems has specific examples of William Carlos Williams use of imagery and form.

The poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” was written in 1923. Although the poem is only eight lines, it has very clear imagery throughout it. The poem is composed of one sentence broken up at various intervals, which make the poem have a very clear image. The image of the wheelbarrow is displayed in its most basic parts in the third and forth lines. The break between the two words wheel and barrow bring particular attention to a wheelbarrows most basic parts. The word “glazed” gives the wheelbarrow a fresh look in the poem. It plays on the emotion that the wheelbarrow is new and shiny, even though it might be old, the rain gives it a “glazed” look which makes it look new. The main focus of this poem is the “red wheelbarrow”, and this is truly pointed out in the first line of the poem “so much depends upon”.

The poem “Portrait of a Lady” was written in 1934. You can tell from the beginning of the poem that he is talking about a women’s sexuality. He describes her thighs as appletrees, her knees as a southern breeze or a gust of snow. Each of these descriptions gives the poem an exotic tone. The theme of the poem is the women’s body. The way he uses beautiful imagery to describe the women’s body makes it seem like he loved her very much. As you get towards the end of the poem and he is asking “which shore? Which shore? I said petals from an appletree.” makes it seem like he has lost some he loves and cannot get them back. The term “which shore?” makes it seem like the imagery of a deserted island, that the same is stuck on, away from the one he loves.

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