William Carlos Williams and his Red Wheelbarrow

William Carlos Williams and his Red Wheelbarrow


The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends


a red wheel


glazed with rain


beside the white


William Carlos Williams

Oddly enough, my beef today is not with William Carlos Williams, but rather with his anthologists. To think that he can be summed up by a red wheelbarrow, rain and white chickens is really sad. But still at every anthological turn, there is that red wheelbarrow staring you in the face, reminding you of the fellow who handled his stethoscope supposedly as deftly as his pen.

Some of those anthologists/critics seem to experience nirvana as they extol the brilliance of breaking “wheelbarrow” into two words. If the big hunchos at Home Depot ever got wind of the value attached to broken wheelbarrows, they’d be asking full price for those broken ones strewn about in their garden section. Better yet, they may consider them collectibles.

I’m sure Mr. Williams deserves his place among his contemporaries, but that’s not because of his broken wheelbarrow, but in spite of it.

Sometimes I wonder if breaking “wheelbarrow” into two words rises to the level of writing a whole body of poetry using only lowercase letters or, for that matter, doing away with punctuation altogether. Both of these ideas are quirky enough for me to like!

But my problem with all of this, is trying to find a way to tell a child why we’ll be reading “The Red Wheelbarrow” and not “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

Maybe the color red will be my savior!

You Figure it out!

How come no one is crying foul

When poetry depends upon

A wheelbarrow, some rain and fowl?

B. N. Faraj


One thought on “William Carlos Williams and his Red Wheelbarrow

  1. hmm…my beef is more with w.c.w. overly precious as though we should cogitate endlessly on a few unremarkable words. and he seems to have spawned a generation of ‘poets’ writing rather banal sentences as though they were profound. but still like the post. 🙂

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