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1 post in this topic

Explore the Craft of Writing

American Poetry


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.jpgpainting by Ann Altman

the red wheelbarrow


so much depends



a red wheel



glazed with rain



beside the white


-----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 wheelbarrow is:

  • a single sentence in 8 lines, broken into 4 stanzas, each stanza has 2 lines.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • written with "focus, intensity, concentration, and emphasis".
  • composed with concrete images.
  • the emotion is disclosed through the image.


    evening azimuth by Judi Van Gorder


    all eyes focus



    a setting sun



    a fiery flare



    into a sizzling



    the reader by Judi Van Gorder


    the mindful care



    to a simple



    will bring new



    to the poetry


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