Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Teaching the American Twenties: Exploring the Decade through Literature and Art

Investigating Americanness

Inscription from signed presentation copy of Spring and All given to Louis Zukofsky

William Carlos Williams
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Poem XXII, popularly known as "The Red Wheelbarrow" strips language down to seeming banality--note its differences from Eliot's The Waste Land. The poem brings the physicality of the words into prominence, and asks the reader to contemplate the simplest of objects. But it also challenges the reader: what exactly does depend on the scene he describes? To answer this question, the reader must make language anew, like a seed cracked open in the spring.

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