Wallace Stevens Essay Research Paper Wallace StevensOne

Wallace Stevens Essay, Research Paper

Wallace Stevens

One poet whose work you can really appreciate is

Wallace Stevens. Even though his poetry contains very

complex and lyrical vocabulary and his work is symbolic in

content, a reader can still find ways to really enjoy the

poems. Stevens seems to be almost musical in his work. The

poems I have read pay much attention to the sound and

arrangement of words. On the other hand, I find Steven?s

work to be somewhat bizarre. It is a style of writing that

will confuse the reader. The reader may not understand each

and every poem because he uses such a variety of poetic

techniques. Some of the techniques he uses are alliteration

and onomatopoeia.

In reading Robert Wrigley?s work Making Music of Sense

he believes that ?when poetry strays too far from music, it

atrophies?. This of course does not pertain to the works of

Wallace Stevens. One of the most interesting and true

statements is Wrigley?s comment ?And I ought to admit how

many poems there are that I love, whose meaning eludes me,

or defies me, mostly does.? I would have to say that I can

honestly relate to and agree with that statement. This made

me feel better because in reading the selected poems by

Stevens a number of them are enjoyable to read, however; an

easy translation eludes or defies me.

The poem The Emperor of Ice-Cream is one of those poems

which seems like it is more about sounds than it is sense.

Instantly as this poem begins to unfold the reader is drawn

in by the very first lines. Initially you are not sure of

what it means as you read:

Call the roller of big cigars,

The muscular one, and bid him whip

In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.(1-3)

The lines themselves seem lyrical and in the third line the

reader can be caught up in the poets use of alliteration.

This is because it is almost flowing along like the lyrics

of a song. There are other such lines in the poem where

Stevens uses playful alliteration. He also repeats the

somewhat lighthearted line that ?The only emperor is the

emperor of ice-cream?. After reading the poem over several

times the reader can come to a better understanding and form

his or her interpretation. On the surface the poem is about

the wake of a poor old woman, however; if examined more

deeply the reader could sense a deeper meaning. The very

ordinary commonfolk mourners are not as interested in the

dead woman as they are concerned with their own wants and

desires. There is very little description of the dead woman

thereby denoting her unimportance. On that same note the

ice-cream man?s importance is shown by making him an

emperor. The woman and her surroundings appear to be rather

unpleasant as though they are reminders of the everyday life

of poor people.

The next poem is Nomad Exquisite which is again musical

in nature and elusive to interpretation. This poem seems to

be lyrical without hidden morals or value judgments being

passed along. Stevens? language in this particular poem

uses a variety of poetic techniques such as alliteration,

symbolism, and personification. He also uses various hues

of colors to capture the moment and the beauty of the land.

?The immense dew of Florida? and its land is pure, refreshed

and inspired much as the Nomad himself. This beauty:

Brings forth hymn and hymn

From the beholder,

Beholding all these green sides

And gold sides of green sides,…(6-9).

In conclusion, the poems of Wallace Stevens draw the

reader in with their lyrical sounds. His poetry is

enjoyable although it can not always be easily interpreted.

I, as a reader, struggled with this idea, but according to

Wrigley: ?…although I?m interested in the gloss, what he

tells me the poem says is never as beautiful as its saying.

Being lost in the sound of it is always better.?


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