Modernist Poetry Context & Structure - Williams

  • Created by: cj2013
  • Created on: 26-04-19 14:37

William Carlos Williams Context

Context:

  • Williams was a member of the imagist movement, using free verse, enjambment and short lines to isolate clear, precise images, forcing the reader to focus on the component parts of the 'wheel/barrow' and the disturbing isolated image of 'Icarus drowning'.
  • Williams make ekphrastic references to paintings by the sixteenth century Netherlandish painter Pieter Brueghel in poems 'The Hunters in the Snow' and 'Landscape with the Fall of Icarus', which is representative of the insignificance of individual human suffering in an indifferent universe, which may have been influenced by Williams' work as a practising doctor.
  • 'This is Just to Say' is an example of found poetry which may have been inspired by the found art work of Marcel Duchamp.
  • 'The Great Figure' displays the typically Modernist view of cities as chaotic, violent and immoral places, and the clear figure 'five/5' displayed in the side of the firetruck is a symbol of order placed on the chaos.
  • Similarly to Robert Frost's 'Mowing', 'The Red Wheelbarrow' evokes the typically Modernist idea of finding beauty and truth in the mundane and everyday.
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William Carlos Williams Structure, Form and Voice

Structure, Form and Voice:

  • (see context notes for Williams as an imagist).
  • The enjambment and ambiguous syntax in 'The Hunters in the Snow' leads to multiple interpretations of the images in the poem. Is it the hunters in the background or the harsh environment?
  • The short, staccato lines in 'The Great Figure' are mimetic of builiding tension in the tense city environment.
  • In 'Landscape with the Fall of Icarus', there is a juxtaposition between the violent imagery of 'drowning', 'splash', 'sweating' and the 'flourishing' vitality of the farmers' land.
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