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The Red Wheelbarrow

The Red Wheelbarrow


by William Carlos Williams

Analysis: Brain Snacks

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

When Williams was little, his father would read Shakespeare to him and was a member of a Shakespeare club. The club members would come over every once and a while and perform dramatic readings at the Williams house. (Source)

Williams's grandmother was named Emily Dickinson. By coincidence, he loved the poet Emily Dickinson, and described her as "my patron saint." (Source)

Williams wanted to be an actor at one point. (Source)

Williams tried to capture the rhythms of American speech in his poetry. He believed that poet Emily Dickinson tried to do the same thing. Of Walt Whitman, he said, "Whitman was on the right track, but when he switched to the English intonation […] he didn't realize it was a different method, which was not satisfactory to an American." He felt Robert Frost failed to do capture American speech rhythms. And he said of T.S. Eliot, "Eliot, on the other hand, was trying to find a way to record the speech and he didn't find it. He wanted to be true to the American idiom, but he didn't find a way to do it. One has to bow down finally, either to the English or to the American." (Source)

Williams was first accepted into dental school at the University of Pennsylvania but soon transferred to the medical school. (Source)

Williams's mother was an artist. (Source)

Williams self-published his first book of poetry in 1909 and sold only four copies at the local bookstore. The rest of the copies were stored under a chicken coop, which accidentally burned down ten years later. (Source)

Williams referred to T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land as "the great catastrophe." (Source: The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, Vol. 1, 2003, p. 254)

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