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 not easy. His poems might be remarkable of their verbal brilliance. they can be shot via with lavish imagery and wit, expert by means of a lawyer's good judgment, and disarmingly unforeseen: a making a song jackrabbit, the seductive Nanzia Nunzio. additionally they spoke--and nonetheless speak--to modern issues. although 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 professional on Stevens, offers us right here the fundamental reader's consultant to this significant 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 notice 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 paintings. Her annotations, which come with either formerly unpublished scholarship and interpretive comments, will gain rookies and experts alike. cook dinner additionally offers a short biography of Stevens, and provides an in depth appendix on tips on how to learn sleek poetry.
A Reader's advisor to Wallace Stevens is an essential source and the precise spouse to The amassed 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
Stevens also wrote of war. How could he not? ” Only a few of its parts pleased him enough to collect, the best being retitled “Death of a Soldier” and shorn of its epigraph. Poems meditating on war continued, through the Spanish Civil War (“The Men That Are Falling”) to World War II. ” Though uneven and sometimes cramped, it includes some of Stevens’s best work; its meditative, indirect approach to war is the one most congenial to Stevens. Stevens’s letters testify to his horror of the war from 1939 onward.
His second premise is that people always believe in something, whether they are aware of it or not, and that we need to believe in something. If we possess “a will to believe . . ” Some ﬁctions, Stevens added, “are extensions of reality” (L 430, 1942). “The willing suspension of biography 21 disbelief ”: this is Coleridge’s classic phrase for the way we respond to imaginative work such as his “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” works presenting “persons and characters supernatural” (Biographia Literaria, chap.
The thought that he had found all this / Among men, in a woman—she caught his breath—” (“Yellow Afternoon”). Or there is his “blue woman” or personiﬁed spring weather, who remembers eros well, and does “not desire . . ii). She achieves what is not achieved earlier: she holds the reality of actual sexual force and the imagination and beauty of it together and yet separate, in a living relation. The delicate and the sensual are not at odds, as in some of Stevens’s early erotic poems. Strange as it may sound, all these lines were written after Stevens’s ritual farewell to Florida-cum-Venus.