William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams Poems

William Carlos Williams was an American poet and physician. His work is commonly associated with modernist movements like Imagism. His best-known poem is The Red Wheelbarrow.’ He died in 1963 at the age of 79. Read more about William Carlos Williams.

The Red Wheelbarrow

by William Carlos Williams

‘The Red Wheelbarrow’ by William Carlos Williams depicts, in very simple language, a red wheelbarrow outside in the rain.

This poem is a quintessential example of William Carlos Williams' poetry, as it exemplifies many of the themes and techniques that define his work. Williams' poetry often focuses on every day and the mundane, using simple language and imagery to capture the beauty of ordinary objects and moments. He is also known for his use of free verse, which allows him to experiment with structure and language in innovative ways. 'The Red Wheelbarrow' reflects all of these characteristics and is widely regarded as one of Williams' most iconic poems.

so much depends upon a red wheel barrow  

The Young Housewife

by William Carlos Williams

‘The Young Housewife’ by William Carlos Williams is a short poem that intimately envisions a few moments in the life of a lonely woman confined to her home.

This poem by William Carlos Williams is emblematic of the clarity and suggestiveness of his poetry. As was the case with many of his poems, this one offers a vivid snapshot into a seemingly mundane but intimate moment in the life of a housewife. Through both his precise imagery and diction, he captures all the complexity of the moment as it is observed and imagined by the speaker.

At ten a.m. the young housewife

moves about in negligee behind

the wooden walls of her husband’s house.

I pass solitary in my car.


by William Carlos Williams

‘Perfection’ by William Carlos Williams is a poem about finding exquisite appreciation for a decay as a natural part of life in the image of a rotting apple.

This poem by William Carlos Williams is indicative of the poet's modernist and imagist style. For one, it celebrates the mundane (and, to some, profane) image of a rotting apple. The poet's goal is to instill the same vivid passion and joy they experience observing the piece of fruit onto the reader. All the praise and claims of beauty that they laud upon it, in turn, challenge the reader's own perceptions of these ideals.

O lovely apple!

beautifully and completely


hardly a contour marred--


by William Carlos Williams

‘Tract’ by William Carlos Williams is a unique poem about funeral practices and how Williams’ speaker believed they should be altered to better serve the dead. 

This is not considered Williams' best poem, but it is a very interesting and thoughtful example of his verse. It demonstrates his unique approach to traditional subject matter and how challenging his verse can be to read.

I will teach you my townspeople

how to perform a funeral —

for you have it over a troop

Explore more poems from William Carlos Williams

Spring and All

by William Carlos Williams

‘Spring and All…’ by William Carlos Williams describes a desolate and dying landscape which borders a road and leads to a “contagious hospital.”

The Dance

by William Carlos Williams

In Brueghel’s great picture, The Kermess,

the dancers go round, they go round and

around, the squeal and the blare and the

tweedle of bagpipes, a bugle and fiddles

The Great Figure

by William Carlos Williams

Classic to William Carlos Williams’ poetry, ‘The Great Figure’ is written in free verse without any punctuation. This modernist style is reflective of his inclusion in the Imagist movement.

The Yachts

by William Carlos Williams

‘The Yachts’ by William Carlos Williams depicts the winners, or yacht-owners, in the capitalist system and the losers, or the poor, who are drowning in the waters around the boats. 

To a Poor Old Woman

by William Carlos Williams

‘To a Poor Old Woman’ by William Carlos Williams is a thoughtful poem. In it, the speaker describes the experience of an old woman eating a bag of ripe plums.

Willow Poem

by William Carlos Williams

‘Willow Poem’ by William Carlos Williams describes the life cycle of a willow tree that is surprised by the coming of winter. 

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