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Top 100 or so Poems -- "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams is a paradox, in many ways similar to his fellow American great, Wallace Stevens, in that he was a Medical Doctor by day, world-famous poet by night (Stevens was an officer and legal counsel for The Hartford insurance company).

His simplification of scenes and social issues to bare bones word play has influenced many, including the beat generation, most notably, Allen Ginsberg.

Here is possibly his most famous poem - use the word pictures to get the scene, and hence, the importance of the poem.


The Red Wheelbarrow

by William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white


  1. I have always loved this poem! Thank you for sharing it.

  2. I love much of WCW, but after 50 years this little poem still eludes me. I understand its theoretical importance but less so its pure poetic pull. Maybe we have to
    read in view of the modernist notion that words are objects. Once we do that, Williams said we would feel great power.

  3. Dear Desert Rocks: You are welcome! This has been great fun.

    Dear Anonymous: I hear you. I enjoy this poem based on a little anecdote in which Wallace Stevens prefaced a WCW collection calling him a "romantic poet" and simultaneously indicating that this label would "drive him mad" -- and it did -- WCW never did let the preface go to print! However, the image I receive from the word picture, IS romantic! BTW, WCW thought of himself as more of a scientific poet...

  4. see my response at http://wp.me/p102ON-x