By Eleanor Cook
Wallace Stevens is among the significant poets of the 20th century, and in addition one of the so much not easy. His poems could be staggering of their verbal brilliance. they can be shot via with lavish imagery and wit, proficient through a lawyer's good judgment, and disarmingly unforeseen: a making a song jackrabbit, the seductive Nanzia Nunzio. in addition they spoke--and nonetheless speak--to modern matters. although his paintings is well known and his readership keeps to develop, many readers encountering it are baffled by means of such wealthy and unusual poetry.
Eleanor cook dinner, a number one critic of poetry and specialist on Stevens, offers us the following the basic reader's consultant to this crucial American poet. prepare 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 observe 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 artwork. Her annotations, which come with either formerly unpublished scholarship and interpretive comments, will profit rookies and experts alike. cook dinner additionally offers a short biography of Stevens, and gives a close appendix on the right way to learn smooth poetry.
A Reader's consultant to Wallace Stevens is an quintessential source and the fitting 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: gathered Poetry and Prose.
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Extra resources for A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens
He admired Harold Laski (L 441, 1943) and Dwight Macdonald (L 486, 1945). He admired, or said he did, the aims of the left (“the most magniﬁcent cause in the world”) though not its various practices or its political philosophy (see L 287, 1935; L 620, 1948). ) He believed in “what Mr. Filene calls ‘up-to-date capitalism’ ” (L 292, 1935). He believed in “social reform and not in social revolution” (L 309, 1936). His sympathies lay with the A. F. of L. O. ” He said that he was no “revolutionist” even if he did “believe in doing everything practically possible to improve the condition of the workers,” as well as supporting “education as a source of freedom and power,” and regretting that “we have not experimented a little more extensively in public ownership of public utilities” (L 351, 1940).
See the developments in “Extracts from Addresses . ” Syntactically, “The Snow Man” is remarkable as a one-sentence poem with shifting parallel phrases. The ﬁnal memorable line is the culmination of much skilful repetition and internal rhyme. The entire poem is logically compact, and complicated by the a-logical play of paradox at the end. title: sometimes misspelled as “Snowman,” not the same thing. “regard . . behold”: note the difference in the two verbs, and cf. ” “not to think”: like being told not to think of an elephant.
Is come . . ” Stevens translated du Bellay’s 24 biography beautiful sonnet of 1558 when he was twenty-nine years old, living in a room in New York, and still thinking of Reading, Pennsylvania, with some nostalgia (L 150–51, 1909). When he was seventy, he spoke of the “exile at the bottom of the heart,” echoing the cry from the great psalm of exile, Psalm 137: “If I forget thee, Jerusalem—and then [a man] works for years at a task of this sort with all the cunning of his love” (L 681, 1950). He was speaking of a gifted printer and designer, and of himself.