By Eleanor Cook
Wallace Stevens is likely one of the significant poets of the 20th century, and likewise one of the so much tough. His poems will be extraordinary of their verbal brilliance. they can be shot via with lavish imagery and wit, knowledgeable via a lawyer's common sense, and disarmingly unforeseen: a making a song jackrabbit, the seductive Nanzia Nunzio. additionally they spoke--and nonetheless speak--to modern matters. although his paintings is well known and his readership maintains to develop, many readers encountering it are baffled through such wealthy and unusual poetry.
Eleanor cook dinner, a number one critic of poetry and professional on Stevens, supplies us the following the fundamental reader's advisor to this significant American poet. prepare dinner is going via each one of Stevens's poems in his six significant collections in addition to his later lyrics, in chronological order. for every poem she offers an introductory head observe and a sequence of annotations on tough words and references, illuminating for us simply why and the way Stevens was once a grasp at his artwork. Her annotations, which come with either formerly unpublished scholarship and interpretive feedback, will profit newcomers and experts alike. prepare dinner additionally presents a short biography of Stevens, and provides a close appendix on the best way to learn smooth poetry.
A Reader's consultant to Wallace Stevens is an imperative source and the appropriate spouse to The accrued Poems of Wallace Stevens, first released in 1954 in honor of Stevens's seventy-fifth birthday, in addition to to the 1997 assortment Wallace Stevens: accrued Poetry and Prose.
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Additional resources for A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens
The people are fooled and yet not fooled. Individuals are skeptical, but in a crowd they accept what the crowd appears to believe. In 1946, Stevens was asked to identify the major problems facing the writer in the United States. ” The poet must “maintain his freedom,” as all individuals should (OP 311, LOA 814). ” But: “Here is its actual stone” (MBG xxxiii). ” asked Jesus. He also said: “Man shall not live by bread alone,” when offered the chance to convert stones to bread. Bread and stone turn up together in different stories, well worth pondering in times like the thirties.
Stevens’s last collection before his Collected Poems (1954) appeared in 1949: The Auroras of Autumn. He reassured a correspondent that he was not writing a seasonal sequence, that is, an autumn volume following his 1947 Transport to Summer. He also said a little defensively (he was nearly seventyone) that there was nothing “autobiographical about it” (L 636, 1949). He had a sense of not moving in “the circles of spaciousness” quite as grandly as in his younger days, but there is no falling-off in these poems.
For him, the writers of the biblical books are among the great Western poets. He was convinced that we have not yet taken in the implications of such a view (NA 173–75; LOA 748–49, 1951). This emphatically does not imply a materialist or simple antireligious stance. If the sine qua non of belief is the existence of a transcendent God beyond ourselves, then Stevens’s supreme ﬁction will appear to be a contradiction in terms. Supreme being, yes. But a ﬁction is something invented by the human imagination; by deﬁnition, it cannot be supreme to a Christian believer.