Tag Archives: ENG 695

Cross-Post with Wallace Stevens Encounters

As I previously wrote here, I intend to follow up on the ideas I wrote about in the Introduction to Wallace Stevens Encounters. This is that post.

In that post, I mentioned that Pattiann Rogers expands Stevens’ ideas in her essay “Cosmology and the Soul’s Habitation”; however, although her ideas line up and extend Stevens’, she does not specifically mention his name. Perhaps Stevens’ theory has become so ingrained as to be an accepted part of the modern condition of humanity; in Rogers’ words, a piece of our contemporary cosmology.

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Introduction

As Part of a class in my MFA program titled Literature for Writers, Professor Janet Peery asked for a final project interrogating our semester-long study of our choice of writer. At the beginning of the seminar, I chose Wallace Stevens as a poet I should probably know more about, as my encounters with him have been few and far between.

After attempting several different projects, including a couple of essays, I decided to go a little more playful: bring Stevens into contemporary America and see what happens. The posts included under this category are the results.

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“I Didn’t Know How Good the Poem Would Be” – Hugo and Finding Out

Richard Hugo continues the sentence in one of the most powerful essays of The Triggering Town by writing, “but it would be honest and I would like it because it wouldn’t be any tougher than the human heart needs to be” (96). “Ci Vediamo” barely resembles other essays in the collection, with very little direct advice, but instead reflects on Hugo’s return to the little Italian town where he was stationed in WWII. Despite not directly conveying advice to writers, Hugo imbues the essay with a well-modulated experience which brings the reader to tears with the author at the end. This control of modulation offers enough to study in itself, though this response is not the appropriate place. Instead, this essay will examine the way “Ci Vediamo” and other essays in Hugo’s collection urge the reader toward an honesty and openness which leads to better poems.

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