Too Many Books; Too Little Time

Writers’ Trigger:

Size determines the number of books at my bedside table. It’s a small room. It’s a small table. The number of books total four. Of that number, one is perfect when I need a small something to slow me down before sleep overtakes me. A five or ten minute read devoid of plot is perfect. And such a perfect book is 1000 Books to Change Your Life by TimeOut.

1000 Books is a compilation of essays and synopses of books selected by writers and critics. Author Jenny Turner chose Selected Poems by William Carlos Williams as the book that changed her life.

Going back to her university days, Turner remembered an exam question that was given at the beginning of the summer. The answer was due at summer’s end. The question concerned “The Red Wheelbarrow” a 16-word poem by William Carlos Williams: so much depends / upon / a red wheel / barrow / glazed with rain / water / beside the white / chickens.

The question to be answered was “Why is this a poem?”

As a student, Turner struggled to answer the question. Writing in 1000 Books, Turner wrote: “Only the other day I realized that for years and years now, the wheelbarrow in my mind has been green; the softer mass ranged against it has never been wide and fluffy, but something tall and sleek. Though white at least, and with feathers certainly wet from the recent rainfall, for years and years now, the birds I always see when I think about this poem are geese.”

  • Why is “The Red Wheelbarrow” a poem? Or…
  • What does Jenny Turner’s revelation suggest? Or…
  • Choose an inanimate subject and mimic William Carlos Williams’ Red Wheelbarrow format.


Company coming. Too little time is about to be compressed.

About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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