Stevens's "Thirteen Ways" and its possible relation to imagism

Date: Fri, 8 Oct 1999 06:26:39 -0400 (EDT)


This is a good and important point. Probably "Thirteen Ways..." and the
Hemingway prose should have been in a separate section of this part of the
course. They're by no means like H.D.'s "Sea Rose" or Williams's "Lines."
They're not radically imagistic; they're not explicitly poems written
within the imagist movement.

But they do fit in many other ways. 

They have this early-modern penchant for radical minimalism of perception.
Each section of "Thirteen Ways" is a radically minimalist piece or shard
of perception (=cubism in words). True, the pieces are not each a slight
physical observation with crisp words such as those H.D. would use. They
are, rather, what you might called

		meditative shards of perception

or		shards of meditative perception.

And then there's the "subject matter" (as we discussed in the chat room
last night---what *fun* that was!): the blackbird is something like the
wheelbarrow. It's insignificant (common, not rare, not "grand," not the
golden bird...) and yet so much depends upon it. 

It's the object in a complex scene that is so simple that it makes the
whole complex scene simple.

Does this help!


| I do not see Wallace Stevens' "Thirteen ways..." as imagist in respect to the 
| two ways described by Al.  It is not condensed at all, being two pages long 
| and all.  It also does not deal with a single moment in time, talking about 
| the blackbird but also about how the "thin men of Haddam" think of the bird.  
| Also, I see some pretty high falutin' language used(shadow of his equipage, 
| bawds of euphony) although this may just be because of my somewhat limited 
| vocabulary.-ben

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