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 demanding. His poems will be mind-blowing of their verbal brilliance. they can be shot via with lavish imagery and wit, proficient by way of 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. notwithstanding his paintings is renowned and his readership keeps to develop, many readers encountering it are baffled via such wealthy and weird poetry.
Eleanor cook dinner, a number one critic of poetry and specialist on Stevens, offers 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 presents an introductory head be aware 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 Her annotations, which come with either formerly unpublished scholarship and interpretive feedback, will gain newbies and experts alike. cook dinner additionally offers a short biography of Stevens, and provides an in depth appendix on tips to learn glossy poetry.
A Reader's consultant to Wallace Stevens is an integral source and the ideal significant other 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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Extra resources for A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens
Thus Stevens in 1918. Words of studying run all through “Le Monocle de Mon Oncle” and the poem closes on the ﬁgure of the rabbi, but this rabbi is not a mentor. In the thirties, ﬁgures of an interior mentor and an artistic conscience begin to appear in Stevens’s work. They too have to do with ideas of order: “Oh! ” So ends Stevens’ 1930 poem, “The Sun This March,” with a petition that is part of his rededication to poetic work. The rabbi clearly helped. It is the rabbi as a scholar to whom Stevens cleaves.
As an old name and a new state (1907), Oklahoma embodies the paradox of old and new in one (cf. “Oklahoman” in OE xvi). Rhetorically, “Oklahoma” echoes the k———cla of “bucks clattering” in a sound scheme, one of many schemes on place-names in Stevens. “ﬁrecat”: though an actual animal (L 209), mysterious and still resisting simple identiﬁcation. (Minor Indian legends tell of a cougar or mountain lion who brings either helpful or destructive ﬁre. ) Cf. the force of poetry or of the spirit as a lion or cat in MBG xix, “Poetry Is a Destructive Force,” OE xi, etc.
1) “nothing himself ”: how far can a writer become a pure recorder of sense effects, without the self intervening? A snow man can do so. (Cf. ) “the nothing that is”: note this is not “nothingness,” a weighted philosophical and theological concept. One “nothing that is” is the word “nothing” on the page. On paradoxes of “nothing,” see Stephen Booth, Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1977, index) and Rosalie Colie, Paradoxia Epidemica (1966), 219–51. The Ordinary Women Dial 123 (July 1922), with ﬁve other Harmonium poems, “Bantams in Pine-Woods,” “Frogs Eat Butterﬂies .
A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens by Eleanor Cook