Notations of the Wild: Ecology in the Poetry of Wallace by Gyorgyi Voros

By Gyorgyi Voros

In the summertime of 1903, previous to he grew to become twenty-four, Wallace Stevens joined a six-week searching excursion to the desert of British Columbia. the journey profoundly inspired his conceptions of language and silence, his symbolic geography, and his sensibilities towards wild nature as nonhuman "other." The rugged western mountains got here to symbolize that promontory of expertise - "green's eco-friendly apogee" - opposed to which Stevens may degree the truth of all his later perceptions and conceptions and wherein he might pass judgement on the aim and price of works of the human mind's eye. Notations of the Wild perspectives his poetry as a thorough reimagining of the nature/culture dialectic and a reinstatement of its forgotten time period - Nature. Gyorgyi Voros specializes in 3 governing metaphors in Stevens' poems - Nature as condominium, Nature as physique, and Nature as self. She argues that Stevens' younger barren region event yielded his fundamental topic - the connection among humans and nonhuman nature - and that it spurred his shift from a romantic to a phenomenological realizing of nature. most crucial, it triggered him to reject his culture's slim humanism in prefer of a novel imaginative and prescient that during contemporary phrases will be deemed ecological.

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Indeed, he peered toward something yet more distant and elementalpre-Adamic Nature unadorned by human conception, scoured of impastoed human meanings, unmediated, authentic, and whole. He wanted to write The poem of pure reality, untouched By trope or deviation, straight to the word, Straight to the transfixing object, to the object At the exactest point at which it is itself. (CP 471) As these lines from "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven" show, Stevens concedes the inevitability of the human. He calls not for "pure reality" but the "poem of pure reality" (italics mine); he desires a language circumventing metaphor, yet its target, the "transfixing object .

He wanted to write The poem of pure reality, untouched By trope or deviation, straight to the word, Straight to the transfixing object, to the object At the exactest point at which it is itself. (CP 471) As these lines from "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven" show, Stevens concedes the inevitability of the human. He calls not for "pure reality" but the "poem of pure reality" (italics mine); he desires a language circumventing metaphor, yet its target, the "transfixing object . . " It was to this central paradox that Stevens returned again and again: that only in the imagination could the absence of imagination be imagined.

The second is that criticism is a dynamic activity that not only describes but also effects an ongoing relationship between its subject (the poem, for example) and the surrounding cultural terrain. Either the poem is the cry of its own occasion, and the critic's task is to examine how the poem celebrates itself, or the poem is the cry of an occasion extraneous to it, and the critic's task is to examine how poem and occasion line up. Until recently, critics have tended toward the former reading of Stevens at the expense of the latter; that is, they have resisted seeing Page 14 Stevens's poetry as actually responding to the material world around him, often preferring to regard him as a poet's poet gamboling in a cloud-cuckoo-land of language where reference to any specifically political, historical, and even biographical content is conspicuous by its absence.

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