Another essay I wrote for my poetry class, this time analyzing “imagism” in two different versions (the original upublished draft vs. the revised published version) of William Carlos Williams’ “Young Woman at a Window.”
“Young Woman at a Window” by William Carlos Williams
Show, Don’t Tell: Analyzing Imagism in Williams’ “Young Woman at a Window”
The second version of “Young Woman at a Window” by William Carlos Williams presented here clearly, succinctly describes only the exact image of a crying woman holding a child on her lap infront of a window and nothing more.
There is no insight or even a mention of the woman’s life, her feelings, her relationship to the boy or anything beyond what the eye can see. It’s as if the poet were an sculptor chiseling the image of the woman and child into marble with a few sharp words.
In some ways the first, slightly more descriptive version of the poem seems to make more of an emotional impact, but it strays from the imagist manifesto by bringing the invisible into the scene — namely the possible emotional cause (resentment, perhaps of the maternal variety) behind the woman’s tears as well as the boy’s ignorance of his, or his actions’, negative effect on her.
In case you readers hadn’t noticed before, I’m as passionate about poetry as I am about music. It’s part of my heritage from both sides of my family and something I greatly enjoy getting lost in when I have free time. I love reading poetry, writing poetry (some of which has been published elsewhere), reading about writing poetry, writing about reading poetry and hosting poetry reading parties. I’m so happy that there seems to a resurgence of interest in poetry, both classic and modern. Anyway, here’s another “close reading” essay I wrote for my poetry class. This time of Emily Dickinson’s poem unofficially titled, “I tasted a Liquor Never Brewed.”
Dickinson’s Strange Brew: An Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed”
“I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed” by Emily Dickinson
I taste a liquor never brewed —
From Tankards scooped in Pearl —
Not all the Vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an Alcohol!
Inebriate of Air — am I —
And Debauchee of Dew —
Reeling — thro endless summer days —
From inns of Molten Blue —
When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door —
When Butterflies — renounce their “drams”
I shall but drink the more!
Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats —
And Saints — to windows run —
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the — Sun –
Emily Dickinson’s poem “I taste a liquor never brewed,” unofficially titled for its first line, could initially be dismissed as an overtly sentimental ode to nature which lacks the hidden depths of other Dickinson poems. However, a more thorough examination of the poem reveals Dickinson’s signature method of cleverly embedding kaleidoscopic expression within deceptively simple, succinct phrases. In this case, allusions to personal and spiritual freedom lurk behind her metaphoric depiction of a nature lover’s euphoria.
Allison Crowe’s full 16-song “visual album” has finally been released and is now available in its entirety at Vimeo!
Allison’s hardworking manager and I have tried in vain to make Vimeo’s full album embed from viewable to those of us on Android devices, but we have yet to find a solution. So just click here if you can’t see the album player below…