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You would improve their efficiency and always deliver on time. Then you would collect a mediocre paycheck and be remembered as the person who was good at following instructions. What you need, dear self, is a real vision. You need a life mission that goes beyond an adventure or even a quest. I made that.

It was mine. And sure, eventually everything will come to an end. There was a time when poetry was so popular in the USA that Forget me reviewing this.

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There was a time when poetry was so popular in the USA that many daily newspapers had daily poems and the average worker with a grade school education could recite several great American poems by heart. That was also the time when poets wrote about things that people experienced and could relate to. I love Whitman. I have a Masters degree. I can read Spinoza and the Greek dramatists and poets with pleasure. I started this book because Stevens was said to be a great poet. After forcing myself through twenty of these poems I still had no idea what any of them were about.

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I might as well have been reading Icelandic for all I got out of them. Here's an example of how Stevens unnecessarily obscures his poetry: in one poem, he refers to "the halo-John. Its appearance stops the reader as abruptly as if he had driven into a brick wall. Who or what is "the halo-John"? The reader searches through the rest of the poem for clues. Ok, it is a religious poem so maybe he means St. John the Evangelist because saints have halos.

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But why not just say "St. In fact, it detracts as the reader has to stop reading the poem in order to do the equivalent of a crossword puzzle exercise in order to proceed further. If the reader isn't christian, he may be completely out of luck. Stevens doesn't just do this sort of thing once or twice; his poems are full of this sort of nonsense.

If a poem needs a commentary in order to appreciate it, the poem is a failure because this sort of poet is incapable of speaking to the reader without an intermediary, a literary priest to offer sacrifices for the poor, ignorant layman who has insufficient piety and intelligence to approach the divine mysteries of poetry on his own.

The reader has his revenge, though.

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Poetry is unread. Poetry becomes irrelevant. Poets must either scrap with each other for literary prizes that mean the difference between starvation and three steady meals a day or slog away at teaching jobs since no one will buy their work. My copy of this book of poetry will meet its end in the dumpster. Stevens is easily the greatest poet in the language in the 20th century, and most of his fellow Americans have never heard of him. Another "Great" poet who no one has ever heard of. Sort of how Gustav Mahler is the greatest composer in the world even though no one listens to him, right?

If there isn't an audience for someone's work, it isn't great. No audience, no talent. I know someone who likes eating yeast and butter sandwiches. He says that this foul tasting, bitter snack is the greatest food in the world. Sure it is.

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The rest of the world is just too pedestrian to understand, I guess. What a straw-bale heart you possess!

I bet you spit on other literary "incomprehensibles" like Dickinson, Beckett, and Nabokov, too. A poetic definition of philistinism, as conceived by J. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Thus, I sincerely hope that yours is merely a case of envy-addled, intellectually sophomoric piffle, as common as it is remediable, in due course of time.

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There are quite a few poems of his that I enjoy, such as "Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock" or his short poems about watching nature. But I must agree with Jmark, at least about this volume, which I remember well from college, that it doesn't really seem to make a fuck of a lot of sense. At times, I was totally irritated by this twaddle, and didn't understand why it was assigned, as I'd have to show up in class and pretend I understood something unfathomable. It seemed to me to be a class about bluffing.

So I think my verdict is mixed.

Most poems I've read by Wallace Stevens have sucked. Some poems by Wallace Stevens I've liked. And, even though I like some of his poems, I feel he's overrated. Instead of buying a whole book, sample what's available online and enjoy what you can. Also, just judging by his online "defenders," I'd say they seem to be unreasonable people.

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I liked Jmark's "review" very much, found it readable, pertinent to the book, and entertaining. The others who took issue with him barely discussed the work, engaged in poor rhetorical tricks and just seemed outraged that their golden god had been blasphemed. As if to say, "That can't be right! I paid several thousand dollars to be taught that Wallace Stevens was great!

Feb 01, Barbara rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry , nook-sample , 5-stars-from-peycho. This is a review of the sample edition on the Nook. I will eventually download the entire book, but I'm so behind on reading at the moment so I do not want to purchase any books until I finish most of what I already have on my Nook.

This particular Nook sample is very generous, in my opinion. It includes ten poems. Some Nook samples of poetry collections include a half of one poem; some include three or four poems; sometimes you're in for a real treat -- for example, Allen Ginsberg's This is a review of the sample edition on the Nook. AND, there are also some disappointing samples that only give you the first few pages of the introduction, so how can I really make a purchase decision based on that? But now I want to read every poem ever written by Wallace Stevens, because I absolutely loved every one of the poems in this sample.

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  • I think I've read each poem around four or five times over the past few months, and I am not bored of any of them yet. Which means I may never get bored of them, although I am aware of the possibility that once I read a lot more of Stevens' work I may find some of these somewhat dull in comparison. Expecting to become bored with poems after reading them a certain amount of times may seem like a strange perception or expectation to those of you who are reading this review, but reading poetry on a consistent basis and reading the same poems and poets over and over is very new to me.

    I've always been interested in poetry as an art, but my extent of reading poetry would be to pick up a collection of poems by someone I might have been curious about -- Neruda, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Ginsberg, Plath, Eliot, etc. To me, reading poetry from the first to last page in a book was only done when reading Shakespeare, Homer, Ovid, and the Greek tragedians.