Wallace Stevens and Walt Whitman: Preeminent American Poets

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

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Let’s face it: everyone is born a poet. Parents and school rob children of poetry. Vividly, our greatest poets of the 20th & 19th centuries—Wallace Stevens and Walt Whitman—were “men who suffered and minds who created” (from T.S. Eliot). In school we all read Stevens’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” and Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” but did we find for ourselves the capacity of fiction to relieve alienation through the alliance of author, reader and character?
A successful lawyer and insurance executive, Stevens drifted into drunken holidays in Key West, where he fell into the crypto-fascist camaraderie of Ernest Hemingway. Yet he salubriously produced “The Order at Key West” which, to entice you further, blogster, begins “She sang beyond the genius of the sea.”
Embrace our laureates of American poetry summa-cum-poetica, the bridge to Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, William Carlos Williams—even Sylvia Plath!

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