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It's World Poetry Day.

As an English Literature undergraduate, I spent many a happy hour absorbed in the modernist poetry of William Carlos Williams. More or less a celebrity in his native USA, he's relatively unknown here.


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His poems often convey a certain haecceitas - the quality of 'thisness' - capturing something very particular. In the Social Brain Centre, we're interested in the importance of attention, and one of the possibilities offered by Carlos Williams' poetry is to focus attention very acutely. In a way, I think his poems illustrate mindfulness in action. It's especially clear in these two of his most famous poems:

The Red Wheel Barrow

so much depends


a red wheel


glazed with rain


beside the white


This is Just to Say

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably


for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold


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