Eminent versus Imminent
Eminent means "distinguished or superior";
imminent means "impending, sure to
happen." Also, eminent domain is the right
of a government to take over private
property for public use.
Examples: The rain was imminent; it would
arrive soon, soaking the eminent
dignitaries on the stage. (Think of
imminent and impending, which both
begin with the same letters.)
“In a Station of the Metro.”
William Carlos Williams
How to Paraphrase
• A Paraphrase is a restatement of a passage
giving the meaning in another form. This usually
involves expanding the original text so as to make
• A paraphrase will have none of the beauty or
effectiveness of the original. It merely aims, in its
prosy way, to spell out the literal meaning. It will
not substitute for the original, then, but will help us
appreciate the compactness and complexity of
• Write in prose, not verse (in prose the lines go all
the way to right margin). The line breaks of the
original are irrelevant in paraphrasing.
• Write modern prose, rearranging word order and
sentence structure as necessary. As far as
possible, within the limits of commonsense, avoid
using the words of the original. Finding new
words to express the meaning is a test of what
you are understanding.
• Write coherent syntax, imitating that of the
original if you can do so with ease, otherwise
breaking it down into easier sentence forms.
• Write in the same grammatical person and tense
as the original. If the original is in the first person,
as many poems are, so must the paraphrase be.
• Spell out explicitly what the original implies or
conveys by hints. It follows that a paraphrase will
normally be longer than the original.
• Spell out explicitly all the possible meanings if the
original is ambiguous (saying two or more things at
once), as many poems are.
• Use square brackets to mark off any additional
elements you find it necessary to insert for the
coherence of the meaning. The brackets will show
that these bits are editorial -- contributed by you for
the sake of clarity but not strictly "said" in the
original. An example might be some implied
transitional phrase or even an implied thought that
occurs to the speaker causing a change in tone or
In Groups: A Discussion
1. Paraphrase “In a Station of the Metro”
2. QHQ on “In a Station of the Metro”
3. A new critical reading of “In a Station
of the Metro”
paraphrase “In a
Station of the
In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
A new critical reading of “In a Station of the Metro”
• The ‘faces in the crowd’ is easy enough to understand but
adding ‘apparitions’ before it gives us an image of bland, beige
figures, and just like ghosts the faces disappear and become
unimportant in the image of the big crowd. But the image of
petals, especially fresh petals, represents a kind of beauty, and if
those petals were of a vibrant color than it would be symbolic of
• The intrigue of “In a Station of the Metro” derives from what
Pound omits. The beating heart of the poem is indeed invisible;
all Pound leaves the reader is the semicolon that links lines 1 and
2. Implied is the conceit, and the verb of the second line. What
the reader can discern, however, is that there is a conceit of
some sort, and it involves the juxtaposition between the
pulsating, mechanized, bustling life of the modern Metro station
(line 1), and the still, virginal life of the petals of a black bough
QHQ on “In a Station of the Metro”
1. Q: Why does Ezra Pound write this poem in only two lines?
2. Q. What is the meaning this poem is trying to convey?
3. Q: Can we classify Ezra Pound’s “In a Station at the
Metro” as Literature since it is only two lines?
4. Q: In writing a two line poem, is Ezra Pound taking his
manifesto overly seriously?
5. Q: If “In a Station of the Metro” is the quintessential
imagist poem, what does that mean about imagism in
6. Q: Is “In a station of the Metro” just about the image?
"William Carlos Williams."
Cyclopedia of World Authors,
Fourth Revised Edition. Ed. Frank
Northen Magill. Salem Press,
Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, on September 17,
1883, to a mother born in Puerto Rico and an English father.
Both parents figure in a number of Williams’s poems. In 1902
Williams began the study of medicine at the University of
Pennsylvania and while a student formed important friendships
with Ezra Pound and the painter Charles Demuth. In 1910
Williams began his forty-year medical practice in Rutherford,
marrying Florence Herman in 1912.
Williams’s first book of poems, entitled Poems and privately
printed by a local stationer, was replete with the kind of archaic
poetic diction and romantic longing typical of much American
magazine poetry at the time. As a result of Pound’s directive
that he become more aware of avant-garde work in music,
painting, prose, and poetry, Williams’s next book, The Tempers,
reflected Pound’s pre-Imagist manner—a variety of verse forms,
short monologues, and medieval and Latinate allusions.
Williams labored on his writing for the next twenty years, largely
unrecognized except by readers of the short-lived small
magazines that printed experimental American work. What
some critics consider Williams’s finest book, the prose and poetry
sequence Spring and All, was printed in Paris in an edition of only
three hundred and not reprinted in full until 1970, seven years
after his death. This book contains the famous “The Red
Wheelbarrow,” later printed by Williams as a separate poem,
and often anthologized as the quintessential Imagist expression.
In the 1930’s, Williams’s work took a more overtly political turn,
although he had always shared the view of Pound and Eliot that
the work of the poet was central to the health and potential of a
civilization and that the state of a culture was reflected in its
response to its serious artists.
In the 1950’s, Williams became an important
figure for poets seeking an alternative to the
neoclassical poetics of T. S. Eliot and his
followers, and such figures as Robert Lowell,
Allen Ginsberg, and Denise Levertov
acknowledged a large debt to his example.
Since that decade, too, Williams’s career-long
achievement has gradually come to be more
and more fully recognized. Although still not
accorded the status of Eliot and Stevens by
some critics of modernism, on the whole these
two—along with Williams and Pound—are
considered the four major figures of American
Read: William Carlos
Williams “The Red
Wheelbarrow,” and “To
Post #12 QHQ on either
of the poems for
today’s reading. Or
paraphrase “The Red
Wheelbarrow” or 6-9
lines from “To Elsie.”