Literary Terms: Poetry


William Carlos Williams

" This is Just to Say " (979)  

Koch, Kenneth  
" Variation on a Theme by William Carlos Williams " (853)
Brooks, Gwendolyn

" We Real Cool " (654)



Literary Terms: Poetry

Voice: Speaker &Tone

Voice: the term used to designate the creating, ordering artisitc intelligence that we recognize behind any narrating persona, even an " objective " third-person one.

Speaker: the persona designed within the poem; the voice we hear in the poem.

Tone: The writer's or speaker's attitude toward his subject, his audience, or hiself; the emotional coloring, or emotional meaning, of a work.

[ top]

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

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.

[ top]

Kenneth Koch (1925-)

Variation on a Theme by William Carlos Williams


I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.

I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do

and it wooden beams were so inviting.


We laughed at the hollyhocks together

And then I sprayed them with lye.

Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.


I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten years.

The man who asked for it was shabby

and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.


Late evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.

Forgive me. I was so clumsy, and

I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor !

[ top]

Gwendolyn Brooks ( b.1917)

We Real Cool

The Pool Players.

Seven At The Golden Shovel.

We reaal cool. We

Left school. We


Lurk late. We

Strike straight. We


Sing sin. We

Thin gin. We


Jazz June. We

Die soon.

Leading Questions in English Department Databank

[ top]