By Eleanor Cook
Wallace Stevens is likely one of the significant poets of the 20th century, and likewise one of the such a lot tough. His poems may be awesome of their verbal brilliance. they can be shot via with lavish imagery and wit, knowledgeable 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. although his paintings is well known and his readership keeps to develop, many readers encountering it are baffled by way of such wealthy and unusual poetry.
Eleanor cook dinner, a number one critic of poetry and professional on Stevens, supplies us the following the basic reader's consultant 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 offers an introductory head notice 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 Her annotations, which come with either formerly unpublished scholarship and interpretive feedback, will profit newcomers and experts alike. cook dinner additionally presents a short biography of Stevens, and gives an in depth appendix on how you can learn glossy poetry.
A Reader's consultant to Wallace Stevens is an vital source and the best spouse to The accrued 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
As for his politics, in the 1900 election he “voted the Democrat ticket— Bryan,” having turned twenty-one the month before (L 48). His later politics was conservative, though his political sympathies were wide. 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).
Stevens must have been among the sleepers, since he found himself having to consult the library in order to be sure who Saul was—“confound my ignorance” (L 176, 1912). Yet the same Stevens was quoting the Psalms in his journal (L 86, 1906), dropping into churches from time to time, holding on to his copies of Psalms and Proverbs. The English Bible was part of him, and he felt the force of the ancient words. In his ﬁfties, Stevens turned back to reexamine his heritage in the light of this question, which absorbed him to the end of his life.
The English Bible was part of him, and he felt the force of the ancient words. In his ﬁfties, Stevens turned back to reexamine his heritage in the light of this question, which absorbed him to the end of his life. What happens when people stop believing in God? As with all such overlarge questions, the answer depends on where we start. What does it mean to believe in God in the ﬁrst place? What God is believed in? The question has force because the old authority of Christianity has now so widely dissolved in the Western world.