This is Just to Say

One of the first poems I teach in my intro to poetry classes is William Carlos Williams’s “This is Just to Say.”  It’s a short poem with an amazing amount going on, though at first glance, many students dismiss it as slight or unworthy of being a poem. My favorite thing about teaching it is

Shorty Get Loose

When successful, a short poem immediately launches into its lyrical potential; any narrative grounding happens in service to the lyric. (I don’t think there’s such a thing as a successful short narrative, at least not one in less than ten average-sized lines or so. That’s just not enough to tell a complete story in verse.)