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Manuscript honors alumnus William Carlos Williams on Red Wheelbarrow Day

Lauren Kim, Contributing Writer

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Red Wheelbarrow Day took place last Friday from periods A through H to honor alumni and poet William Carlos Williams.

Hosted by the publication Manuscript, which includes “art, poetry, and flash fiction” Managing Editor Claire Yoo (12) said, the event allowed students to stop by and write poems. From these spontaneous poems, Manuscript will decide which poems to include in their winter issue.

Red Wheelbarrow Day is Manuscript’s annual event to honor Williams’ short style of poetry and invite the Horace Mann community to write their own poems, Yoo said. The day is meant “to honor his like kind of short style of poetry we invite the Horace Mann community to like embrace their inner William Carlos Williams and write their own short or long poems and eat a plum, usually for his poem,” she said

“It’s a way to make poetry more accessible to the entire HM community and share the accomplishments of one of the school’s most prominent poets,” co-Editor-in-Chief Katie Goldenberg (12) said.

Named after Williams’s poem “The Red Wheelbarrow,” Horace Mann students at the school and faculty wrote on-the-spot poems during the event, said Yoo.

Williams’s famous poem “This Is Just to Say,” describes plums in an icebox. Plums and other fruit were handed out in the poem’s honor, Events Editor Paul Wang (11) said.

Upper Division psychologist Dr. Ian Pervil participated in the event. “It is always surprising to see a rather large refrigerator sitting on top of a table in the middle of Olshan Lobby, so I stopped by to see what was going on. It was then that I learned that the display was part of Red Wheelbarrow Day, a celebration of Williams’ birthday,” Pervil said.

Both Manuscript members members of the community wrote poems of their own. “Everyone was welcomed and encouraged to participate in the actual event,” co-Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Hu (12) said. Hu “coordinated with the junior editors and my club advisor to set up the booth, advertise the event, bring fruit, and recruit Manuscript members to volunteer for the event,” he said.

According to Yoo, many of the submissions were anonymous, she said.

Ava Merker (11) wrote a poem about a marsh. “I contributed to the day by helping the other leadership set up a table and let the rest of the HM student body know about it,” she said.

Yoo recalls reading submissions about a pen and a baby. “They are all very exciting, cause they’re all…on the spot,” Yoo said.

“I quickly dashed off a poem that was a riff on ‘This is Just To Say’—which I know by heart—claimed a plum for my own, and was both happier and a bit less hungry after the whole experience,” Pervil said.

Merker encourages others to contribute by coming to Manuscript’s table next year to write their own poetry, she said.

“I thought the simplicity of the event made it all the more enjoyable,” Gavin Delanty (12) said. “Some people grabbed fruit on the way to class, while others hung out by the table and wrote funny poems about persimmons,” he said.

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Manuscript honors alumnus William Carlos Williams on Red Wheelbarrow Day