(Photo: Kris WUHS_Mom)
In 1923, William Carlos Williams wrote the short poem he is best remembered for today, “The Red Wheelbarrow”:
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
But until now, no one besides the poet himself knew who owned that wheelbarrow.
William Logan, a professor at the University of Florida, has discovered the wheelbarrow owner’s identity: He was “Thaddeus Marshall, an African-American street vendor from Rutherford, N.J.,” the New York Times writes.
The poem is only 16 words; Logan has written around 10,000 words about it, the Times notes. Logan tracked down hints to the wheelbarrow’s origins—that it was “outside the window of an old negro’s house on a backstreet,” that the owner’s last name was Marshall, that he was once was a fisherman in Gloucester, that he had a son named Milton.
In an old census, there was “only one possible candidate: Thaddeus Marshall, a 69-year-old widower who lived with a son named Milton at 11 Elm Street, about nine blocks from Williams’s house,” the Times writes.
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