This sentence by the American poet and article writer contains what art work means in today's world: experimentation. This feature of the present day art is deeply within Williams' poetic. The poet's world is the America at the beginning of 20th century, an interval in which change is everywhere. America becomes an industrialized urbanized contemporary society and begins being one of the main power on earth. The field of skill in the U. S is affected by the economical, cultural changes of the modern time and the musicians and artists have other reactions to this change. Using one side they take their durability from technology, including the invention of the typewriter will change artists' method of writing. On the other hand, they reject the materialist stamp of the modern era by relating themselves in visual experimental adventure. These painters want to substitute the old worth of 19th century with a radically different frame of mind toward art, based on the social politics changes of the that period. Within the literary world, the key current of the time is Modernism, a intricate movements which comprehends different imaginative conceptions. The Modernism has its source in Europe, but it advances also in America with his own timbre. The American painters of the 20th century look for their own speech, different and detached from the traditional European models. They need to emancipate themselves from the Western european culture. Specifically, poets and freelance writers feel the need of founding their own personal information, they look backward to their short literal background to be able to free themselves from the English and European tradition. The poets start thinking about what's poetry and what's the method to use in poetry. Their research for an id "makes the task of the American poet one focused on exploring the peculiarities and strangeness of the liberal American condition. "(Clive Bloom, The American Poetry, 1995, 3). The particular poets want is to conform the demands of Modernism to the American environment. They change the form, the vocabulary of poetry. They want to renew their poetic, their method, in order to modify it to the modern American world. Their vocabulary will be near to the mass culture, to popular idioms and deeply different in its structure. Actually "for the Modernists, structural corporation is both a way of "knowing" and behaving within the planet" (Clive Bloom, The American Poetry, 1995 p. 7), it becomes significant and changes what sort of reader approaches to the poem. At the end of 1920s poets and freelance writers' experimentation will change the American literature from being provincial to being cosmopolitan. All these and other areas of the modern art work are present in Williams' poetic, which is seen as a experimentation in the modern world.
Williams' most well-known poem is doubtless "The Red Wheelbarrow", a poem which concentrates his poetic and shows his marriage with today's world of experimentation. It was published for the very first time in 1923, in the collection "Spring and All", which mixes poetry and prose. Here the poems are just numbered, "The Red Wheelbarrow" will obtain its title only later, in "Collected Poems", posted in 1934. This poem consists of 8 lines of simple and intuitive words. Maybe it's considered a banal poem, but from this lines it emerges Williams' world. Often the poet has been accused to be primary, but this poem demonstrates the exact in contrast, his poetry is complex. In fact the same Williams areas in "January Day" : "I wanted to write a poem/that you'll understand " and then he adds "Nevertheless, you surely got to try hard". In such a poem we will get the main areas of his poetic, which leads him to experimentation: the importance of locality, the dialect experimentation, the objectivism, the framework experimentation and his romantic relationship with the aesthetic art.
William's poetic is carefully connected with the experimentation of modern American and European painters. His mom was an designer, he's deeply interested in this field from his years as a child. Furthermore, in 1913 in New York is presented the Armory Show, an exhibition which provides the most new and fresh artwork. The Armory Show pushes the painters in NY into radical experimentations. Williams locates himself near to the brand new York avant-garde and from 1915 he participates "The others", several artists and authors. He is affected by contemporary literature, by Joyce, but it is thanks to the visual skill that he sees his original style. Actually, reflecting on 1920s Williams state governments : "It was the French painters as opposed to the writers who affected us, and their affect was very great. They created an atmosphere of release, color release, release from stereotyped varieties, trite things. "(Wisker, William Carlos Williams, p. 32).
Analyzing "The Red Wheelbarrow" we can notice how Williams present three detached images with color connotation (the red wheelbarrow, the rainfall normal water, the white chickens). This implies a connection whit painters' work, but Williams will more. He would like to copy in his poetry the options of painting. This aspect of Williams' poetic has produced different ideas, the most interesting is Bram Dijkstra' s one. The scholar sustains in his book "Cubism, Stieglitz and the early poetry of William Carlos Williams" that Williams is enticed by the immediacy of paintings' impact and the painter's capability to select and isolate a moment of reality, focusing on the aspects which increase its meaning and suspend this minute outside the improvement of time. That is in simple fact what William is experimenting in "The Red Wheelbarrow". He has selected an aspect of reality, in this case a common thing ( the wheelbarrow) and, trying to avoid vain details, he specializes in what for him his the true essence of the wheelbarrow, presenting to it a new meaning and allowing it to be eternal, out of the flux of energy. Dijkstra then demonstrates how William's concept of imagination is close to that a person of Cubism. For Williams creativity chooses the significant aspects of series of images that your poet remembers and intensifies them, gives them a new meaning, by putting them into its world. In the same way, for Cubists thoughts reconstructs actuality. They paint moments, things, reassembling them on the web page, to be able to intensify their main details and provide a new detailed view of truth. The effect of this feature is seen in the rearranged composition of "The Red Wheelbarrow" and in its fragmentation, which can also corresponds to the fragmentation of the modern world. In the "Red Wheelbarrow" there are 3 images, isolated in syntactic unites, fragmented in 16 words, all of them greatly evocative and important. Another interesting feature which Dijkstra points out is Williams' ability to make tangible invisible aspects of actuality, through the use of concrete words (for example in the "Red Wheelbarrow" the term "glazed"). This method could be associated to painters such as Picasso or Braque, who uses geometric varieties to color the abstract space.
However, it is important to underline that William's poetry is affected by Western european avant-garde especially in the first period of his activity, later he'll concentrates on the New York avant-garde.
In fact Williams is also near to American painters' position. In 1920 the poet publishes "Kora in Hell: Improvisation", using in the frontispiece a drawing by Stuart Davis. Choosing this picture he affirms: "It had been, graphically, just what I was endeavoring to do in words, put the Improvisations down as a unite on the site. "(I wanted to write a poem, 29). Williams also in "Kora in Hell" uses the fragmentation of images and phrases, with the consequent aesthetic implication. Finally, the American poet is near another important body of contemporary artwork, Marcel Duchamp. This musician is characterized by experimentation and research. His art is not simply a material, concrete fact, it's a mental work. Duchamp creates masterpiece of design by taking each day objects, the famous "Ready-mades", and placing them in an unusual framework, under a new light. William does indeed the same with poetry. In "The Red Wheelbarrow" he decides a common subject and places it in a fresh and uncommon situation, the site, offering to it a fresh meaning. This fact increases questions about the nature of a work of art, what it consists of, demonstrating the amount of experimentation that Williams extends to.
Williams' connection with Duchamp shows another important feature of his poetry: the value of locality. In fact in his artwork we find everyday situations, common things, portraits of simple people, aspects of reality that are not standard in poetry and on the web page reach a fresh importance, a fresh dignity. These things, these people fit in with the environment in which Williams lives and observes, the city of Rutherford. Williams in truth view is that the modern, the experimentation must be come to through locality. He lives all of his life in Rutherford and from here he attempts to adjust Modernism to the American situation.
Williams sees vicinity also in conditions of language. Actually, through is poetry he wants to reproduce "the hum and excitement of everyday life" (American Poetry, pp 77).
To achieve this for Williams is essential to employ a new language, predicated on the American talk, which can reproduce modern American environment.
This research is common between American poets and writers at the start of twentieth century. In fact they feel the need of detaching themselves from European tradition, and discover American models. For example for Williams a spot of guide in the American books is Poe, because he notices in his work the value of locality.
The poet's visit a new terminology leads him again to experimentation. He wants to use a vernacular words, which can reproduce the American Idiom.
His poetry is based on the rhythmic device, which practices the rhythm of American speech, breaking the guidelines of traditional poetry. Which means that the lines in his poems end when the rhythmic unit ends, not the word. Williams the same underlines this aspect in the booklet "I wanted to create a poem".
However, Williams goes further. He notices how advertisements, radio and new technologies influence the way of speaking and he wishes to put down it in the web page. We are able to see this aspect in the "Poem XXV" of Spring and coil and everything. Here he uses phrases taking by adverts and avenues, for example collection 7 "The particular hell have you any idea about it?".
Moreover Williams wants to make poetry more musical and tries to reproduce in poetry the aspect of jazz.
This is well discussed in the article "Rephrasing Whitman: Williams and the visible idiom" by George W. Layng. The author analyzing the poem XXV of Planting season and All, shows how Williams' variation of the pattern of the stanzas can remember the jazz music in its improvisations and comes back to structure.
If we review the "Red Wheelbarrow" we notice the importance of locality and words experimentation. He chooses a common object, unconventional for poetry, which becomes the main topic of the poem. Williams can have satisfied this rural instrument in his everyday activity.
In truth poetry for him and for many modern poets is a specialization. He is a doctor and lives most of enough time among simple and poor people. Then, taking a look at the lines of the poem we can discover that they don't really end when the phrase ends. Furthermore words such as "wheelbarrow" are divided in their constituents, within an unnatural way.
Another poem which illustrate Williams' interest for area and dialect experimentation is Paterson. Here he decides a city that he understands well, Paterson, and identifies it with a guy and everyone generally. He explains its record, its modern-day situation, its environment with a simple and colloquial terminology.
Besides, starting from Publication Two of Paterson he achieves the theorization of the variable feet. He was searching for a way never to use neither the free verse, nor the permanent foot. Using the variable foot he reaches an half way between them. In I Wanted to Write a Poem he says that in this way "the verse becomes not free at all but simply just variable, as everything in life properly are. "
This demonstrates how Williams in this poem experiments and exactly how also discussing the neighborhood Paterson he is able to be modern and cosmopolitan.
Another important feature of Williams' poetic and experimentation is objectivism.
In simple fact, he goes from the position of the Imagists poets to attain a far more radical style. Williams shares Imagists' notion of immediate treatment of the thing, of the theme of the poem, using new rhythms and patterns. Then he becomes more radical.
In his poetry he desires to move from the idea, the abstract thought present in Imagists' poetry, to the poem, finished. itself. Actually in Williams' style the poem becomes something among other activities on the globe and independent of them. In order to achieve this final result, he will not use metaphors or symbolic meanings, because the subject of the poem should be the image, the thing, which represents itself and nothing else.
This idea can be summed up in the poet's dictum "No ideas however in things". Therefore, for Williams the poem is an object, made by poetry itself and little or nothing else.
Moreover the poem is constituted by words, which have their intrinsic so this means and are indie of each other.
This feature of Williams' poetic confirmed in J. Hillis Miller' s essay "William Carlos Williams". Here the writer demonstrates how William can notice directly an object, without dread, because the object and the poem about that object are 3rd party things, they don't really need each other. Besides, Miller sustains that all expression in Williams' poems has its intrinsic meaning and is segregated from other words, just as the real world things have their own lifestyle and are 3rd party of other things. To show this, Miller can take the exemplory case of one version of the poem "The Locust Tree in Flower". Here Williams different each term to make it standalone in the web page. Every lines is constituted by one word, forcing us to reflect after their own evocative interpretation.
In the "Red Wheelbarrow" this facet of Williams' poetic is clear. Here we can observes the direct treatment of the object, the wheelbarrow. You can find no metaphors, no comparisons. The image of the wheelbarrow is made through simple and descriptive words, which will make the wheelbarrow tangible and visible (for example "glazed", "red", "rain").
Then, we can easily see how the framework of the poem( tree words in the first type of each stanza, one word in the next type of each stanza) strains the important presence of each expression and leads us to think about them. You will find few words, only sixteen, sometime divided between the lines within an manufactured way (steering wheel/barrow). All of them is important and unbiased, but at exactly the same time they build a single, entire image.
Again, this aspect of Williams' poetry, objectivism, demonstrates how his poetic is led by experimentation in today's world. His need to treat the thing of poems in a more immediate way, brings him to change deeply the structure, to be able to represent a new modern idea of world and of poetry.
The search for a new composition is common between the poets of twentieth century. This poets don't want to work with the traditional methods of poetry. They don't really want to set-up poems copying actuality, they would like to develop a poetry which is reality itself.
This aspect of Williams and other poets' experimentation increases a new romance between the reader and the poem. The reader now must reveal not only on this content of a poem, but also on the structure. He must review each part, each term of the poem, hoping to comprehend why the poet has chosen that one word or structure, what he desires to connect through what ""he makes ". In this manner the partnership between reader and poem becomes more technical and modern.
If we take again the poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" we can illustrate now how behind this eight lines, which could be considered simple and elementary, it's hidden the proof of Williams' intricate and experimental poetry.
It's a whole artwork. It shows Williams' connection with the visual artwork, in his use of images with color connotation, of lines fragmentation, of tangible concrete words. He selects a common thing (as Duchamp does indeed), the wheelbarrow, intensifies its meaning and helps it be eternal, a thought used by Cubism and other experimental movements.
Then, authoring a local, rural wheelbarrow, with a straightforward language he reaches experimentation again. Williams would like to use the American idiom and for repeating this he breaks the guidelines of traditional poetry about tempo and versification. What of the poem are simple and descriptive, the lines do not follow the reasonable sentences and breaks words within an manufactured way. Williams uses here free verses, no traditional rhyme system no metaphors.
Each part of this poem, from the way words are located in its composition, to the choice of words that William has done, instructs us something new set alongside the previous methods used in poetry.
There will vary theories about this is of the sixteen words of "The Red Wheelbarrow". In fact the poems doesn't say what will depend upon the wheelbarrow, departing to us the answer.
The scholar Barry Ahearn thinks this is the real human civilization that depends after this rural machine.
Williams maybe wishes to reveal that the poetry itself depends upon this common subject and a wheelbarrow can includes all the new, radical experimentations of the present day poetry.
Most probably there is no answer.
What is sure is that "The Red Wheelbarrow" is a symbol of Williams' experimental poetic and it shows that the North american poets is aimed at "a fresh form of poetic structure, a form for future years". ( American Poetry, William Carlos Williams, pp77)
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