By Eleanor Cook
Wallace Stevens is among the significant poets of the 20 th century, and likewise one of the so much not easy. His poems may be stunning of their verbal brilliance. they can be shot via with lavish imagery and wit, expert via a lawyer's common sense, and disarmingly unforeseen: a making a song jackrabbit, the seductive Nanzia Nunzio. in addition they spoke--and nonetheless speak--to modern matters. even though his paintings is renowned and his readership keeps to develop, many readers encountering it are baffled by way of such wealthy and weird poetry.
Eleanor prepare dinner, a number one critic of poetry and specialist on Stevens, provides us right here the basic reader's advisor to this significant American poet. cook 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 be aware and a sequence of annotations on tough words and references, illuminating for us simply why and the way Stevens used to be a grasp at his paintings. Her annotations, which come with either formerly unpublished scholarship and interpretive feedback, will gain newcomers and experts alike. prepare dinner additionally offers a quick biography of Stevens, and provides a close appendix on tips on how to learn sleek poetry.
A Reader's consultant to Wallace Stevens is an quintessential source and the correct spouse to The accumulated 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: accumulated Poetry and Prose.
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Additional info for A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens
He was touched when young by Chénier’s poem, “La Flute,” describing how a master tutors a young ﬂute player, and he translated it (L 124, 1909). He could also laugh at his own tutoring self, the “Devil of sermons, within me”—this after hectoring his bride-to-be (L 124, 1909). Or at the Doctor of Geneva who ﬁnds that the ocean is nothing to sneeze at (“The Doctor of Geneva”). Or at the lecturer on “This Beautiful World of Ours” who “composes himself / And hems the planet rose and haws it ripe” (“The Ultimate Poem Is Abstract”).
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. For Stevens, the human imagination has recorded and created and interpreted the history and law and hymns and prophetic sayings and wisdom literature of the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament.
No fertile earth exists in these Old-Worldstyle parks. , it is an old-style poem. title: again the title identiﬁes the genre, again a minor genre. “A bronze rain from the sun”: an aged, autumnal version of Zeus visiting Danaë in an impregnating shower of gold. The old gods now lack potency. “Paphian”: the swan, like the dove, is the bird of Venus. ” 32 harmonium In the Carolinas Soil 1 (Jan. 1917), as part of “In the South,” Pt. II of “Primordia”; CP 4–5, LOA 4. ) is not always welcoming. As with the opening poem, this is a small poem that implies a good deal.
A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens by Eleanor Cook