亚洲必赢官网app( 4


亚洲必赢官网app( 1浦项科技大学天子高校

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Keywords: 唐诗

亚洲必赢官网app( 3天皇高校康河边的碑石

Bicester Village 比斯特购物村

Of Modern Poetry


亚洲必赢官网app(,At the Backs of King’s College there is a memorial stone in white marble
commemorating an alumnus of the College, renowned Chinese poet Xu Zhimo.
Moving to the UK in 1921, Zhimo spent a year studying at King’s, where
he fell in love not only with the romantic poetry of English poets like
John Keats, but also with Cambridge itself.

According to a 2017 VisitBritain report, more than 260,000 Chinese
tourists visit the UK each year. And where do they go? It claimed that
“they are mostly interested in symbolic elements: the Royal Family,
Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and Downton Abbey”. So expect
crowds at Windsor Castle, Stratford-upon-Avon, Baker Street, The
Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Highclere Castle.


唐诗(Chinese Tang poetry)泛指创作于西汉(618年-907年)的诗。
Chinese Tang poetry means poems composed from 618 to 907.
Chinese Tang poetry generally refers to poems written during the Tang
Dynasty(618 A.D. – 907 A.D.).


听他们讲大不列颠及苏格兰联合王国旅游工作管理局二零一七年的告诉,每年有超越26万华夏观景客到United Kingdom旅游。那么中国游历者都去何地呢?报告展现“中华夏族民共和国游历家对象征性成分最感兴趣:王室、Shakespeare、霍姆斯、哈利波特和唐顿庄园”。所以温泽城阙、Evan河畔Stella福、Beck大街、哈利Porter的法力世界还会有Heck利尔城市建设确定有一大群旅客。

One of the most frequently anthologized of Stevens’s poems, “Of Modern
Poetry” is another work that attempts to define art for a fragmented
world in constant flux. Poetry is now a search, whereas it used to be a
method. In the past, “the scene was set; it repeated what/ Was in the
script.” That is, convention and tradition defined poetry, and each poem
was a modification of a pattern. Now, Stevens says, the conventions no
longer apply.

泛指:generally refers to

His poem, 再别康桥 (variously translated as Second Farewell to
Cambridge), is arguably his most famous poem, and is now a compulsory
text on Chinese literature syllabuses, learnt by millions of school
children across the country every year. The poem paints an idyllic
portrait of King’s and the River Cam, and serves as a reminder of Xu
Zhimo’s fondness for his time in Cambridge.?

Then there’s the shopping. Spending figures for Chinese tourists are
truly staggering. According to the UNWTO, Chinese tourists overseas
spent $261.1 billion in 2016, up from around $10 billion in the year

The poem must reflect the world, speak its speech; it must “face the men
of the time and . . . meet/ The women of the time.” War, the
contemporary state of affairs, must have a part in it. Most important,
it must find “what will suffice,” a phrase repeated twice in the poem.
The search for “what will suffice” amounts to a search for satisfaction,
a solace for the mind’s pain of isolation. It must, in fact, express the
mind to itself, so that it becomes the internal made visible. The actor
must speak words that “in the delicatest ear of the mind” repeat what it
desires to hear.

Chinese Tang poetry is one of Chinese Han people’s rarest cultural 遗产.
Meanwhile it makes great influences on the development of surrounding
民族 and countries’ cultures.
Chinese Tang poetry is one of the most valuable cultural heritages of
the Han nationality. Meantime, it also has a great influence on the
cultural development of neighbouring nations and countries.


  1. Collectively, America’s globetrotters parted with a relatively
    paltry $123.6 billion.

The imagery so far has been of the theater, but when the method of this
new poetry is described, philosophy and music are interwoven with
theater images to give the impression of an art that is plastic and
fluid. The actor becomes “a metaphysician in the dark,” suggesting a
thinker concerned with first and final causes but lacking the light of
any received structure for his meditations. He is, moreover, “twanging
an instrument,” creating a music that is “sounds passing through sudden
rightnesses.” These vibrations are the mind’s own pulsations made
audible to it.

最尊敬的文化遗产:the most valuable cultural heritages
文化遗产:cultural heritages
发生巨大影响:have a great influence

While the poem has been set to music many times before, King’s has
commissioned the first musical setting of the text by a mainstream
classical composer. The new piece, by renowned English composer John
Rutter, has been written and recorded in celebration of the near
100-year link between King’s College and Xu Zhimo, and has been released
on 26 January 2018 on a new album on the King’s College Record Label.


双语阅读,那个澳洲风光为何受中华夏族民共和国游客热捧亚洲必赢官网app(:。The poem concludes by returning to the subject matter of modern poetry,
which can be any action in which the self is expressed: It “may/ Be of a
man skating, a woman dancing, a woman/ Combing.” The subject is not the
important issue, however, for the real poem is the act of creating
poetry; modern poetry is finally “The poem of the mind in the act of
finding/ What will suffice.” This poem twists and turns in an attempt to
catch a glimpse of its own creation. It is about itself: Modern poetry,
and this work defining it, are self-reflexive. The poem is the creation
of poetry and not the product.

而流传最广的当属《唐诗三百首》(Three Hundred Poems of the Tang
While the widest-spreading one must be Three Hundred Poems of the Tang
Dynasty, in which many poems are known by 后人.
The most widespread ones among Tang poems are definitely Three Hundred
Poems of the Tang Dynasty, in which many poems are quite familiar to
people of later generations.


“Cynical young Chinese will scornfully tell you that the travelling
middle classes pay lip service to appreciating culture, but they are
mainly after the goods: specifically, European brands they can buy in
situ, and bring home to lord over their non-travelling neighbours,” says
Telegraph Travel’s Sally Peck, a former Beijing resident. “This may go
some way to explaining the extraordinary spending figures.”

This poem contains germs of the ideas that Stevens would develop and
elaborate in “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,” in which he claims that
poetry must be abstract, must change, and must give pleasure.

流传最广的:the most widespread

“Many intellectual transformations happened for him while he was here
and in some ways the whole seed of his development as a person who
became an intellectual poet, through the medium of poetry, all sort of
connected up with his visit to Cambridge and the people we met.”



The number of Tang Dynasty’s poets was large, includes Li Bai, Du Fu who
are world famous great poets. Many of their works are widely spread.
There are a great many poets in the Tang Dynasty, and among them are
world-famous Li Bai and Du Fu, many of whose works are household poems
with great popularity.

亚洲必赢官网app( 4加州圣巴巴拉分校大学皇帝学院官英特网有关《再别康桥》专辑的牵线

All of which reveals why Bicester Village, a vast retail estate on the
outskirts of the Oxfordshire town, is the second most visited UK
attraction for Chinese tourists – after Buckingham Palace. Three in four
Chinese visitors head to Bicester aided by Mandarin signs and
announcements at London Marylebone; others travel by tour bus.

“Of Modern Poetry” is one of Stevens’s most frequently anthologized
poems, and it may be the most commonly encountered poem from the
collection that contains it, Parts of a World. Its popularity may be
attributable in part to the relative clarity with which it presents its
themes. The quest for “what will suffice” appears in other Stevens poems
as well, including “Man and Bottle.” The search for a fiction that will
be sustaining or nourishing to human beings in their uncertain lives is
Stevens’s major theme. In this poem, the theme is not hidden or
presented indirectly.

理想的诗歌:household poems with great popularity


这也解释了伊利诺伊香槟分校(science and technology)郡谢家集区的特大型零售公司比斯特购物村为啥会在中华游览家访谈最多的英帝国风光排行中稍低于克里姆林宫。伍分叁的神州游客是重视London马里波恩车站的国语路标和文告自行前往比斯特购物村的,别的人则是坐观景巴士去的。

The poem explores what characteristics poetry must have if it is to
“suffice”—that is, to be enough or to satisfy. It is the uncertainty of
the time that places so many demands on poetry, because poetry, to
satisfy, must not violate reality. Therefore, wartime demands poetry
which confronts war issues rather than hides from them. As each age
speaks its own language, so the speech of the poem must reflect and
partake of the discourse of the time. Otherwise it will not satisfy. It
is axiomatic in Stevens that building a romantic world which can serve
as a shelter from the unpleasantness of reality is not the function of
poetry. Some of Stevens’s early critics thought of him as an escapist,
an ivory-tower poet who had little contact with the real world and
little interest in it. He fought such dismissal vigorously in both
poetry and essay, claiming that the poet must confront reality. The work
of the imagination lies in its interactions with the real, not in
disguises or evasions of reality.


整首曲目以男高粤语独唱(soli tenor voice
choir)为主,配以长笛独奏(soli flute)。


The presentation of what modern poetry is actually like or should be
like is more complex, presented as it is in a series of metaphors of
actors, musicians, and metaphysicians. The substance of poetry is its
sounds; these sounds ideally have all the dimensions that they could be
given by those other art forms and disciplines.

Chinese Tang poetry is full of create tricks and has abundant articles,
which is the greatest achievement of out country’s poetry’s
Chinese Tang poetry has reached the highest achievement of poetry due to
its diversified techniques and rich themes.

“John Rutter is a very resourceful composer, and I was delighted with
the way he conceived of doing this, presenting most of the text through
the tenor voice for which we engage the Chinese tenor. Well, I wanted to
have a go myself at making an arrangement of it which would express
something of what we do at King’s.”

King’s College, Cambridge 伊利诺伊香槟分校高校太岁高校

Still more subtle is the description of the response to this ideal
poetry. The audience is really listening “not to the play, but to
itself.” If the reality of the present is adequately represented in
sound, the reader will find himself or herself in the poem. There will
be an identification, described in the poem in terms of music that is
somehow metaphysical: “The actor is/ A metaphysician in the dark,
twanging/ An instrument.” Poetry is thus presented as a metaphysical
music that helps the mind define itself and learn of its own limits and
possibilities. The identity of mind and music is a positive pleasure,
consisting of “Sounds passing through sudden rightnesses, wholly/
Containing the mind.”

是参天成就->获得了高高的成就:reach the highest achievement


A famous tree – for Chinese people at least – can be found in King’s
College, Cambridge. The willow, ignored by most, is mentioned in a
much-loved poem by Xu Zhimo, ‘Taking Leave of Cambridge Again’:

The conclusion of the poem retreats from the intensity of the middle
section as it presents some of the materials of poetry. The subject
matter of poetry is far less significant than the creative act itself,
suggests the poem, and only as an afterthought should poetic subjects
even be mentioned. Nevertheless, the images of the three people, two
women and a man, caught in their acts of living, provide appropriate
closure. It may be true that all of Stevens’s poetry is about writing
poetry, but that does not make it—or this poem—narrow or exclusive.
Stevens describes the creative drive as a basic force that is part of
what it is to be human.

“The inspiration I think came from the poem which is on the tablet by
the bridge by the river camp here in the college. Apart from the tourist
self and the words, which of course are quite big elements in it, it’s
not specifically intended to be a Chinese piece. It’s the sort of
arrangement I would make for something like that, and it’s a very
beautiful melody.”?




The golden willows by the riverside

“Of Modern Poetry” attempts to redefine poetry for a world with no
stable structures or values. Its form approaches blank verse, but it is
not close enough to that form to be so labeled. The form is flexible,
with five stresses in most lines but six or four in others. The loose
form is appropriate for this poem, as a part of its argument is that
modern poetry refuses labels, designations, and categories of all kinds.

Are young brides in the setting sun;

The poem begins with its basic definition: Modern poetry is “The poem of
the mind in the act of finding/ What will suffice.” Contemporary poetry
must be self-descriptive; it must look at itself searching and must
observe its own invention. Thus, poetry is not so much a product as an
act or activity. In the past, the speaker continues, the “scene was
set”: Poetry was formerly a matter of following the conventions.
Everyone knew what was considered poetic material and what the
acceptable forms of poetry were. This is no longer the case. The new
poetry must be written in today’s language, and it must reflect changing
times and shifting concerns. It must include a consideration of war, for
example. (The poem was published during World War II.) It must make use
of the materials that are currently available to create a representation
of those who will read it.

Their glittering reflections on the shimmering river

The poem then compares the poet with other types of artist for whom
performance is a major part of their artistry. These comparisons help
communicate the point that poetry must be activity if it is to speak to
the present. The poet becomes an actor, a musician, and a “metaphysician
in the dark” in his attempt to portray the time period as it is, for
those who live in it. Elements of other arts and disciplines are
attributed to poetry.

Keep undulating in my heart.

The concluding lines add to the previous definition, stating that poetry
must be “the finding of a satisfaction.” The earlier quest is identified
as a search for “what would suffice.” These two words, “suffice” and
“satisfaction,” suggest that poetry has as its goal a kind of
consolation. The suggestion looks forward to Wallace Stevens’s major
statement of his poetic theory, “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,” in
which he develops a substantial argument concerning poetry: “It Must
Give Pleasure.” In the conclusion to “Of Modern Poetry” he also offers
possible subjects for poetry—“a man skating, a woman dancing, a woman/
Combing.” His subjects are all actions, activities which might be
considered celebrations of the present by those who feel enough at home
in it to move with its movements. Flux and flow are a necessary part of
“the poem of the act of the mind.”




The form of the poem as a whole reflects its insistence that form not be
prescribed for modern poetry. The twenty-eight lines are arranged
according to no set pattern, but the suggestion of blank verse underlies
the poem and gives a feeling of coherence to it. The poem is broken into
sections which provide its major propositions. It is not a syllogism or
formal argument, but it makes three main points. It begins by
introducing the issue of modern poetry and the difference between past
and present poetry. In its most extended section, it then describes the
new demands made on poetry by a complicated and skeptical age. Finally,
it comments on possible subjects for poetry.


The metaphors in this poem all point in the same direction; they are all
attempts to describe modern poetry in such a way as to make “Of Modern
Poetry” both explanation and example. Traditional poetry is described as
a theater in which “the scene was set.” Past poets could repeat “what
was in the script”: Their powers of invention were not taxed in the same
way that those of poets now are. To introduce the new poetry, the poem
personifies or animates poetry itself, saying that it has to “learn the
speech of the place” and “think about war.” Poetry is then compared with
an actor who is speaking into “the delicatest ear of the mind.” In turn,
the actor is compared with yet another figure, a metaphysician, who is
then presented as a musician. All these shifting comparisons are
confusing if analyzed logically, but they serve to characterize a poetry
that is itself shifting, grounded on uncertainty, and reflective of
lived life rather than tradition or convention. That drama, metaphysics,
music, and poetry are in some ways equivalent and that they can flow
from and into one another is a part of the theme of the poem. The
metaphors demonstrate what the poem explains.


That action is a necessary part of contemporary poetry is suggested by
the flowing run-on lines and by the number of present participles and
gerunds that appear throughout the poem, such as “passing,” “twanging,”
“skating,” and “dancing.” The modern poetry that is the “poem of the act
of the mind” reflects the particular actions which are contemporary

Xu spent a year studying at King’s College, where he was entranced by
the work of Keats and Shelley, before returning to China to lead its
modern poetry movement. Renowned for his love affairs, Xu died at the
age of just 34 in a plane crash and the willow is now considered by his
fans to be a shrine to lost youth. A memorial stone can be found beside
the tree – an essential spot for Chinese tourists to grab a snap.



Bates, Milton J. Wallace Stevens: A Mythology of Self. Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1985.

Metzingen 德意志麦琴根购物村

Bloom, Harold. Wallace Stevens. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003.

Germany’s answer to Bicester Village is Outletcity in Metzingen, the
town in Baden-Württemberg, close to Frankfurt, where Hugo Boss was
founded. It has little to lure anyone beyond scores of factory outlets.
Hugo Boss was the first, but Prada, Nike, Burberry, Armani and Gucci, to
name a few, have since followed suit. As the?Economist?points out,
there’s an irony to the fact that many items bear “Made in China”
labels, but high taxes and duties mean prices are around 40 percent
lower than those found in Beijing.

Cleghorn, Angus J. Wallace Stevens’ Poetics: The Neglected Rhetoric. New
York: Palgrave, 2000.

德意志的麦琴根购物村一定于大不列颠及北爱尔兰联合王国的比斯特购物村。麦琴根镇坐落巴登-符腾堡州,接近孟买,Hugo博斯正是在这里创立的。那个地方除了数十家工厂店以外未有太多吸重力。Hugo博斯是率先个在那里建厂的,从这现在,Calvin Klein Collection、耐克、巴宝莉、PRADA和Burberry等牌子也纷纭在这里建厂。正如《军事学人》杂志建议的,多数名牌货都挂着“中华夏族民共和国营造”的竹签,讽刺的是在加上大额税费后,中夏族民共和国境内的价钱比这里的标价要超过六成。

Critchley, Simon. Things Merely Are: Philosophy in the Poetry of Wallace
Stevens. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Bonn 德国波恩

Ford, Sara J. Gertrude Stein and Wallace Stevens: The Performance of
Modern Consciousness. New York: Routledge, 2002.

The former West German capital is another popular port of call. Chinese
love classical music – particularly Beethoven – making his birthplace an
obvious highlight of any trip to Europe. The city’s tourist board offers
maps in three foreign languages: English, Chinese and Japanese.

Leggett, B. J. Late Stevens: The Final Fiction. Baton Rouge: Louisiana
State University Press, 2005.


Morse, Samuel F. Wallace Stevens: Poetry as Life. New York: Pegasus,

Verona 意国维罗那

Santilli, Kristine S. Poetic Gesture: Myth, Wallace Stevens, and the
Motions of Poetic Language. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Both British and Chinese travellers flock to Venice, Rome and Florence –
but Verona typically appears higher on the wishlists of China’s
tourists. That’s because of the country’s collective adoration of
Shakespeare’s?Romeo and Juliet. The play is popular on UK shores, of
course, but the love is doubled in China as it was among the first of
the Bard’s works to be translated into Mandarin, while its plot bears a
striking resemblance to a famous Chinese folk tale,?The Butterfly
. Expect to see queues at the popular, though not necessarily
authentic, House of Juliet on Via Cappello (a statue of the character
stands beneath her balcony).

Sharpe, Tony. Wallace Stevens: A Literary Life. New York: St. Martin’s
Press, 2000.

United Kingdom观景客和中国观景客都爱去意大利共和国的威多哥洛美、拉各斯和名古屋,但中华夏族民共和国游历者分明比英国游历家更爱去维罗纳。那是因为中华夏族民共和国人都比非常快乐莎士比亚的《罗密欧与Juliet》。那部戏剧在大不列颠及北爱尔兰联合王国故乡当然非常受应接,不过在炎黄却加倍的受迎接,因为它是最早被翻译成汉语的莎翁剧作之一。何况,《罗密欧与Juliet》的内容和有名的中原民间传说《梁祝》极为一般。意国帽子街的销路好景点Juliet故居(故居阳台下还会有一尊Juliet雕像)即便不必然是当真,但相对是人工胎位分外涌动。

The Plain Sense of Things


A new Wallace Stevens emerges during the course of this brilliant and
irritating book: Stevens the politically aware (although perhaps not
quite politically correct) realist whose major themes and most
significant works grew from encounters with the world of work and war.
Longenbach draws from letters, reports, and the correlation of events
and poems to provide a new reading of Stevens’ works and a new
distillation of his interior world. This Stevens was never a poet of the
ivory tower but was as fully involved in political events as were the
1930’s leftist critics who supposedly awakened him to the Depression and
the threatening national scene. Longenbach’s book traces the pressure of
reality upon the poet from his days at Harvard and his first poems,
through his major collection, to the few poems completed just before his
death. The critic concludes that Stevens never left “the plain sense of
things” as source and subject and that the apolitical Stevens of many of
the reviews and earlier studies is largely a myth. The arrangement of
the material is basically chronological, although the writer breaks away
from this pattern when thematic contingencies make other orders more

This study of Stevens is James Longenbach’s third book. His earlier two,
Modernist Poetics of History (1987) and Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats, and
Modernism (1988), establish his credentials as an able and flexible
critic whose approach is an eclectic incorporation of factual material
and theory into a highly original discussion of modernist poets and

Longenbach’s arguments are very persuasive, even though the Stevens that
he defines is somewhat reduced in stature. Evidence is unusual and
surprising. For example, in addition to tracing early readings and
influences (some of which have been unearthed here for the first time in
Stevens scholarship), Longenbach looks at Stevens’ editorship of The
Harvard Advocate. He attributes to the young poet articles and reviews
that appeared during Stevens’ editorship, citing Stevens’ comment that
as editor he had to make up most of the material for the issues himself.
This kind of attribution might seem very tenuous, and in fact it
sometimes drives the author to verbal gymnastics:

As the anonymous reviewer of Practical Agitation put it in the Advocate,
Chapman “stands for purity, to be attained by neither the Democratic nor
the Republican party, but by purity itself.” Forty-two years later, the
poet whom this reviewer may have become would explain that “the first
step toward a supreme fiction would be to get rid of all existing

Nevertheless, the articles cited do indeed sound like Stevens, having
the same vocabulary, sentence structure, and general perspective as his
early journals, and they clearly show a political awareness not to be
found in his other writings.

More convincing are the connections Longenbach makes between the events
in the public mind, Stevens’ readings, and his poems. Readers and
critics have had a tendency to overlook the war poems and to dismiss
Stevens’ coda to “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” that begins “Soldier,
there is a war between the mind/ And sky” as a minor afterthought or
even a superficial attempt at relevance. After reading Longenbach’s
analysis, it is difficult not to conceive of this concluding section,
which Stevens had asked to be placed on the cover when the poem was
first issued as a privately printed book, as central. Longenbach’s
Stevens turns out to be a war poet preoccupied with both world wars and
with the national feeling of apocalypse that dominated literature.

Less reliable are some of the conclusions drawn from the letters. Of
course, Stevens’ letters are used to support all conflicting viewpoints,
and his expressed and tacit ambivalence to virtually everything leaves
them open to any uses. Longenbach states, “Stevens recoiled at Hi
Simons’s suggestion…that the poet was ‘on the right’”; the quotation
following suggests that Stevens was claiming to be on the left. The rest
of the letter, however, includes these unquoted lines: “I believe that
[the workers] could procure these things [security, education,
pleasant homes, etc.] within the present frame-work…I think this
explains my rightism; when you say that I am on the right, the natural
conclusion is that I think, as, say, a prebendary of Chichester
thinks…However, I don’t intend to quibble with your use of the right;
let it go.…” It seems clear that Stevens’s response hardly qualifies as
a “recoil” and that he was concerned about the political label, not the
position; Stevens did not like labels, and certainly did not wish to
have his position congealed into stone.

A main hazard to the use of Stevens’ letters as indicative of his
political position concerns his tendency to express ideas similar to
those of his addressee, making him appear to veer in all directions. His
letters to Sister Bernetta Quinn would lead one to believe he was a
closet Catholic all along, while those to his agnostic friends are very
different in tone. This accommodation does not mean that Stevens was
currying favor with his correspondents, but suggests rather that he did
not wish to be pinned down. He also, like most people, tried to find
positions he could share with his friends rather than seek out
arguments. In any case, the letter-examiner can find material to support
any interpretation: In one letter, for example, Stevens claims
definitely that the “supreme fiction” is poetry, and in another asserts
that it is not. Only a critic examining Stevens’ inconsistencies would
be likely to quote both.

Yet whatever reservations one has about some of Longenbach’s evidence, a
reading of this revisionist study provides a Stevens who wrote different
poems from those to which we are accustomed. This Stevens is not a man
divided in two, with one self keeping careful track of details of
insurance claims while the other created poems, as Robert Hass stated,
while walking the streets of Hartford with “a pure exclusive music in
his mind.” Rather, his two occupations are seen as sides of the same
character. The poems must necessarily change, too, with this different
genesis. They become sharp-angled poems clearly located in time and
place, and they arise from and address an audience that is not confined
to or even mainly composed of other poets.

These are clearly readings directed from the outside in, and their
limitation is that what remains in the poem is only what the world can
put into it. The richness of “The Snow Man” virtually disappears, its
wonderful Zen vibrations lost to “the plain sense of things” in this

With Chapman and Robins in the background, the

urgency of this call for the self to empty out

and behold the sheer otherness of commonplace

reality becomes even clearer.

One must have a mind of winter

To regard the frost and the boughs

Of the pine-trees covered with snow.

Is this commonplace reality the snowman is looking for, one might ask,
and is not a “mind of winter” a strange qualification for such a quest?

The reading of “The Comedian as the Letter C” is more satisfying, for it
provides a Crispin that is more realist than fatalist and far less a
fool than the “introspective voyager” met in most readings. Longenbach’s
discussion relates the poem both to the particular apocalyptic visions
of the 1920’s and to the tradition of the Romantic quest-poem. He
emphasizes that Crispin “goes in search not only of aesthetic but of
social ideals.” “The Comedian as the Letter C” is a poem of renunciation
of both “cultural apocalypse” and “the apocalypse of the self,” and its
conclusion leaves Crispin not a victim but more of a victor whose place
of arrival is “where continuities are affirmed.” Longenbach comments
that “Crispin’s fate is a sign of the success of Stevens’ historical
vision, for it was in Crispin’s ordinary world that Stevens wrote all
his best poems.” This more positive assessment of Crispin coincides much
better with Stevens’ expressed attitude toward the poem and its hero in
letters and other poems.

Other readings are also provocative, especially those of the poems of
Stevens’ middle period. (Discussion of his final poems is flimsy,
providing little rationale for the selections of poems Longenbach
privileges as representing Stevens’ true position.) The book as a whole
is a brilliant juggling act that makes a single fabric of poet and poem,
time and tradition. What is remarkable is that the prose never becomes
murky and turgid; threads of fact and conjecture are woven cleanly
together. The reader marvels at both the clarity of the perspective and
the intricate development of the argument.

Documentation, however, is much messier. An annoying difficulty in using
this book arises from the style of notation, which would be much more
appropriate for a trade press book than for a text to be consulted by
students and critics. No note numbers appear on the pages; presumably,
this system has been devised to provide the pleasing appearance of
unbroken text. The serious reader must pay for this pleasure. In each
endnote, a couple of words are quoted, vaguely indicating what has been
taken from a source, followed by an extremely sketchy source
description. The reader cannot know if there is a citation for a given
passage without turning to the endnotes for that page, and then, even if
the citation is found, it is not clear exactly what has been cited. Only
the most persistent will use the notes at all after the first few tries,
and for such a book as this, precise information about sources is needed
as support for the argument as well as for the reader’s own research.

Wallace Stevens: The Plain Sense of Things is clearly a book of its
time, informed by theory (particularly New Historicist theory) and
relying heavily on nonliterary evidence to support its conclusions.
Critics are now turning to the Stevens of the office and of the Canoe
Club to explicate his poems. On the book jacket, critic Louis Martz
comments: “This distinguished book sets forth the Stevens that we will
be reading for at least the next three decades: a Stevens in close touch
with political and social conditions, a Stevens whose poetry arises from
the texture of his times.” Whether or not this is the Stevens we want,
Martz’s statement will probably prove true.

Thirteen ways of looking at a black bird


The first poem in the series sets the overall theme of the sequence.
Like poems 4 and 9, it represents a list, but it is also an objective
correlative, the vehicle of an unstated metaphorical equation. The list
consists of “twenty snowy mountains,” a blackbird, and the blackbird’s
eye, but it also contains one other item not mentioned. Every poem has a
narrator (the narrator of numbers 2, 5, and 8, for example, is “I,” the
author). Although there is no “I” in the first poem, someone is looking
at this vista, so a fourth item in the list is the narrator. There are
other things one might add by implication; if the narrator can see
“twenty snowy mountains” in the distance, that means that his field of
vision is deep and vast. The color white is specified in “snowy,” as is
the color black in “blackbird.” Closeness is also implied, for the
blackbird is close enough to the speaker to be seen clearly; in fact, it
is so close that the narrator can see not only the blackbird’s eye but
also the eye moving—it is, in fact, “The only moving thing,” so stasis
is implied as well as motion. These are the contrasts of the poem:
vastness (mountains) and smallness (blackbird, blackbird’s eye);
distance and closeness; whiteness and blackness; motion and stillness.
One may ask why the poet is speaking only of contrasts and why an eye is
mentioned. Is it what the blackbird sees that is important? What does
the blackbird see? No doubt it sees the narrator, but by the same token
the narrator is using his own eyes to see the blackbird in its
environment and to see the blackbird’s eye in the act of seeing him.

Thus, the subject of the first poem in the sequence is “seeing.” The
theme of the poem might perhaps be put into these words: “Seeing is an
act of perception on the part of a living creature.” The poem, like all
the other poems in the sequence, has to do with the nature of existence.
They are celebrations of life, but life seen with a cold eye—the clear
eye of the existential poet, for Stevens believed that people ought to
look directly and unswervingly at life, accepting it unflinchingly and
without religious or sentimental props of any kind.

Poem 7 says this almost in so many words. The “thin men of Haddam” are
the citizens of Haddam, Connecticut (Stevens lived in Hartford). The
speaker of the poem asks the people why they “imagine golden birds.” He
asks what is wrong with the real life that is objectified in the
blackbird that “Walks around the feet/ Of the women” of Haddam.

The thirteenth and last poem of the sequence is a coda, a summing up and
an ambiguous climax; it is itself the last item in the list of short
poems that Stevens has compiled. What is happening has happened and will
continue to happen. The blackbird sat waiting for the extraordinary
things of everyday life to occur. The implication is that there are many
more than these thirteen ways to look at the blackbird and for the
blackbird to participate in the actions of life. The season is winter,
as it is in the first poem and in others of the series. One thinks,
perhaps, of another early Stevens poem, “The Snow Man,” in which Stevens
said that “One must have a mind of winter” with which to regard the
realities of existence.


“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” is a sequence of thirteen
Imagist poems written in variable syllabic verse. Line length varies
from two to ten syllables, but the norm is four to eight syllables per
line, thus approximating in English the line lengths of Japanese forms
such as the haiku, the senryu, and the tanka, all of which utilize
five-and seven-syllable lines. In effect, Wallace Stevens’s series is a
sequence of Japanese-style Zen poems. The unifying factor in the series
is the image of the blackbird, which appears in each of the numbered
sections of the set; each poem otherwise stands on its own and offers an
insight either into “the nature of the universe,” as does the haiku, or
into “the nature of mankind,” as does the senryu.

Each short poem in the series has its own subject, focus, and thesis,
though all are related. The subject of the first, for example, has to do
with existence and perception; the second, with perspective. The fourth
poem makes the Zen Buddhist point that “all things are one thing.”
Number 5 discusses the differences between statement and implication. In
the ninth poem, the theme is that the universe is a series of concentric
circles extending outward to infinity. Number 12 is close to what the
Japanese call a “katauta”—a short, emotive question and its intuitive
answer. It would be a katauta if the first line were phrased in the form
of a question—“Is the river moving?”—the answer to which is, “The
blackbird must be flying.”

These poems are quite unusual for Stevens, for they are Imagist in the
style of his friend and correspondent William Carlos Williams, rather
than in Stevens’s normal style, which was Symbolist. That is to say,
these poems exemplify Williams’s dictum that there should be “no ideas
but in things” and do not deal in what Carl Jung called “archetypes,” or
manifestations in language of the basic drives of human nature, such as
love (Eros), wisdom (Athena), or power (Zeus).


Each of these short poems is basically a metaphor, though most of them
also contain other sensory devices, such as descriptions and similes. A
metaphor is essentially a language equation: A = B. The first part of
the equation is the subject (called the “tenor”); the second part is the
object (called the “vehicle”). It was William Carlos Williams’s belief
(as well as the belief of others of the school of twentieth century
poets called Imagists) that, if one chose the proper object or vehicle,
one would not need to mention the subject or tenor at all, for one would
have chosen what T. S. Eliot called the “objective correlative”—that
object which is relative to the idea being expressed. Thus, the idea
would be clearly stated in the image itself.

For example, in poem number 5, which is really an embodiment of the
theory stated in the paragraph above, there is a double tenor:
“inflections”—that is to say, statements (denotations)—and “innuendoes,”
or implications (connotations). The speaker does not know which he
prefers. He gives an example of each. The metaphorical vehicle of
inflections is “The blackbird whistling”; the vehicle of innuendoes is
the silence “just after” the blackbird has stopped whistling. The reader
is left to decide which he or she prefers—the sound of the blackbird’s
whistle or the silence in which the overtone of the whistle hangs
suspended like an echo.

Poem number 2 is a simile, not a metaphor. A simile does not make a
strong equation between a tenor and a vehicle, but a comparison between
dissimilar things with a point in common. The speaker says that he “was
of three minds”—he was vacillating among three alternatives, much like a
tree in which one can see three blackbirds doing three different things.
Thus, the tree becomes an embodiment of the state of the speaker’s mind.

Poems number 4 and 9 are neither similes nor metaphors; they are
statements, but the assertions are also endless lists by implication. If
one were standing in a prairie, for example, where one could see a long
way, one might, as in number 9, be able to follow a bird flying so far
that eventually the eye lost track of it and could no longer see it.
That would be the edge of a circle, the circle of sight; yet the bird is
still flying, assumedly, and when it finally lands, that would be the
edge of another circle. The horizon beyond that is yet a third circle.
The earth’s orbit around the sun is a fourth, the solar system is a
fifth, and the edge of the universe is a sixth; the edge of infinity
would be the last. Stevens never says anything beyond pointing out the
edge of the first “of many circles,” however; all else is implied.

Similarly, poem number 4 begins a list: One man plus one woman “Are
one.” Upon consideration of this statement, the reader may well agree,
for one is useless without the other and cannot exist separately for any
length of time. Then Stevens adds a third item to the list: a blackbird.
The reader may agree that, if two different things, such as a man and a
woman, are in reality one thing, then it is possible that a third
different thing, such as an animal, is also part of the same thing, the
same “oneness.” If the reader accepts this third item in the list, then
all other items Stevens (or the reader) might have added, by
implication, are one thing. This is a Zen Buddhist concept, that all
things are one. It points out the Japanese character of this poetic


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