While the works of T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, and William Carlos Williams each come from the place of the working class, operating through common words, each set of works has its own unique place that it is coming from. The writing tools that the poets make use of are often the same, but both the effect and the reason vary greatly.
William Carlos Williams made a deliberate study of how people talk, what interests them, and what particular things are commonly expressed in which unique ways. In this way, he mostly tells other people’s stories, describing things which are easily accessible to the working class, but not venturing too far into his own personal stories. This places him inversely with Langston Hughes, whose language and stories come from the soul. Both William Carlos Williams’s and Langston Hughes’s works have precise sounds to the words and phrases used in their poetry. However, William Carlos Williams concentrates more on phrasing, deliberately repeating phrases in obvious ways that leave the skeleton of the poem bare for everyone to see. Rather than subtly being affected by the effect of the words, the reader is forced to examine the writing strategies head-on. The work of Langston Hughes is more subtle, drawing from the lull of selected words in order for the flow of the poem to cause the desired effect.
The spirits of the poetry of both T.S. Eliot and Langston Hughes are both dour in their own way, but emotional place these poems come from as well as their inspiration are entirely different. The timing of T.S. Eliot’s poetry is a devastating point in history immediately after a point of intense optimism and reform. This sharp downturn in societal feeling makes the devastation all the more fresh, and the wording of T.S. Eliot’s work is jagged and quick. On the other hand, Langston Hughes speaks from a place on a line which has always been mournful and low, from generation to generation. The musicality of his speech echoes a tradition of devastation, and T.S. Eliot’s cutting language is replaced with the echo of well-known sorrow.
In comparison to both the works of T.S. Eliot and Langston Hughes, the work of William Carlos Williams is playful and upbeat. His work holds humor and richness to reach a piece of the working class easily forgotten in their daily struggle to hold onto food and shelter. While the others speak of universal devastation, William Carlos Williams uncovers new significance to the little things.