By Eleanor Cook
Wallace Stevens is likely one of the significant poets of the 20 th century, and in addition one of the such a lot hard. His poems will be extraordinary of their verbal brilliance. they can be shot via with lavish imagery and wit, proficient through 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 issues. even though his paintings is well known and his readership keeps to develop, many readers encountering it are baffled through such wealthy and weird poetry.
Eleanor prepare dinner, a number one critic of poetry and professional on Stevens, provides us right here the fundamental reader's advisor to this crucial American poet. cook dinner is going via every one of Stevens's poems in his six significant collections in addition to his later lyrics, in chronological order. for every poem she presents an introductory head be aware and a sequence of annotations on tricky words and references, illuminating for us simply why and the way Stevens used to be a grasp at his artwork. Her annotations, which come with either formerly unpublished scholarship and interpretive feedback, will gain newbies and experts alike. cook dinner additionally offers a quick biography of Stevens, and gives a close appendix on how one can learn glossy poetry.
A Reader's consultant to Wallace Stevens is an quintessential source and the best better half to The gathered 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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Extra resources for A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens
It seems, in the last analysis, to have something to do with our self-preservation” (NA 35–36, LOA 665, 1942). Possibly he was too sanguine about the human spirit. Late in life, Stevens commented on the rabbi that appears regularly throughout his poetry. He had always found “the ﬁgure of the rabbi . . ” Why? Because this is the ﬁgure of someone “devoted in the extreme to scholarship” and also using it “for human purposes” (L 786, 1953). Some ﬁgures in Stevens’s work, like the rabbi and the scholar, are parts of his own self that act as mentors.
One never knows. Perhaps they are merely undertakers” (L 623). ”) In 1953, contemplating social upheavals, including the pressure of increasing population, he had the sense that “the time for speaking of birds has passed” (L 780). Yet he would go on to speak of birds. The earliest bird of the day and the year with its “scrawny cry” belongs to 1954 (“Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself ”), and the “gold-feathered bird” at the edge of the mind belongs to 1955 (“Of Mere Being”). Stevens knew well what his subjects were.
A ﬁrelit room is ﬁlled with moving colors that evoke the colors of fallen leaves, and indirectly evoke the well-known troping of fallen leaves as spirits of the dead, elsewhere directly alluded to (“Arcades of Philadelphia the Past”). The ﬁreplace as a memory-place is central in many poems and stories, especially American ones. Stevens turns away from conventional developments of this topos with “Yes: but” and with his repeated “against,” which also questions kinds of againstness. ” The “I” sentences map the movement of the poem.
A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens by Eleanor Cook