Years ago, when I read William Carlos Williams’s collection of poems Spring and All (1923), it was the first time I experienced a poet who tried to teach people how to read his poetry in his poetry. “So much depends” is the center argument of his book-length tutorial:
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
Pretty much, if any one of these objects in his poem were placed in a different scenario, our picture would change. That is why “so much depends.” With Williams, as with many Modernist writers who desperately wanted to be more direct, the objects inhabit a relativity. But being direct isn’t necessarily easy.
TS Eliot played around with Freud in his personas, like Prufrock measuring his life in coffee spoons.