Category Archives: wallace stevens

Old Wallace, Meet New Wallace

Wallace-stevensOne of the best things a retrospective collection can do is let you see the development of an artist over time. The Nation nicely makes that point with the new volume of Wallace Stevens poetry:

Coming upon them in the elegantly compressed compass of the new Selected Poems, it’s difficult to imagine that the author of a quietly unnerving pentameter like “The river that flows nowhere, like a sea” could have written the line “Taste of the blood upon his martyred lips.”

Yet to read “The Men That Are Falling” beside some of the greatest poems of the twentieth century–“The Snow Man,” “A Postcard From the Volcano,” “The River of Rivers in Connecticut”–is to be forced to rearticulate the extremely complex terms of Stevens’s achievement.

New Volume of Wallace Stevens Poetry

Helen Vendler in the NYT calls the Selected Poems the volume of Stevens we have long needed”:

In 1954, Stevens allowed Alfred Knopf to bring out his “Collected Poems” in celebration of his 75th birthday. Less than a year later, Stevens died, and although a few late poems appeared posthumously, it was by the “Collected Poems” that we knew him. The Library of America, in 1997, gave us all of his poetry and some of his prose, but we have long needed, and now possess, through the unerring taste of John N. Serio — editor of The Wallace Stevens Journal and “The Cambridge Companion to Wallace Stevens” — a genuine “Selected Poems.” What has been omitted? The juvenilia, the unpublished poems of unhappy love, the less interesting verbal experiments and a few of the more difficult lyrics that might turn away beginners. Serio, with distinct courage, has chosen to include most of Stevens’s major sequences, declaring, by this act, that Stevens would not be Stevens without them.

Shop though these links = Support this site

Recent Posts

Copyright © 2015. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.