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Tinker

the wheelbarrow

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Explore the Craft of Writing
American Verse

The wheelbarrow is an invented form sometimes used by educators as an exercise in focus, intensity, concentration and emphasis. Donald Hall's How to Read a Poem ends the first chapter with this exercise. The verse form is patterned after the structure of the red wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams; Hall calls it "the wheelbarrow".                                                             red wheelbarrow.jpg

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens
-----William Carlos Williams 1938

William Carlos Williams was a part of the "Imagist" movement. Imagism focuses on the concrete image using only adjectives which will enhance the image. Most imagist poems are under 20 lines, written without rhyme, and express emotion through the image.

The elements of the wheelbarrow are:

  1. a single sentence in 8 lines, broken into 4 stanzas, each stanza has 2 lines.
  2. syllabic. L1 of each stanza has 3 words and a syllabic count of 3 or 4. L2 of each stanza has 1 word with 2 syllables
  3. composed with L1 making a statement of the importance, something to grab the reader and suck the reader into the poem. That word in Williams' poem is "depends" then the next line "upon" hangs the preposition from the verb... moving the reader on.
  4. written with "focus, intensity, concentration, and emphasis".
  5. composed with concrete images.
  6. the emotion is disclosed through the image.

    evening azimuth by Judi Van Gorder                            
    all eyes focus
    watching

    a setting sun
    mimic

    a fiery flare
    falling

    into a sizzling
    ocean

     

     

    the reader by Judi Van Gorder
    the mindful care
    given

    to a simple
    poem

    will bring new
    measure

    to the poetry
    within

     

     

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