With each passing decade, the poems of Wallace Stevens gain in reputation and
importance. Once considered a Modernist poet—like contemporaries T.S. Eliot or Hilda
Doolittle—his poetry is now acclaimed as a unique achievement, standing apart from
Modernism's stress on alienation, fragmentation, or compression. This course will
examine Stevens's poetics of the imagination—from his pithy epigrams to longer works
that enact a drama of "never-resting minds" seeking the "complete simplicity" where
"God and imagination are one."
For the first class, please read: “Anecdote of the Jar,” “The Emperor of Ice Cream,” “The Motive for Metaphor,” “The Idea of
Order at Key West,” “Of the Surface of Things,” & “Sea Surface Full of Clouds”
Also, if time permits: “Poem Written at Morning,” “The Poem That Took The Place Of A Mountain,” “Valley Candle,” “Of
Modern Poetry,” “Large Red Man Reading,” “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” “The Planet On The Table,” “Domination
of Black,” “The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm,” & “Two Figures in Dense Violet Light”
David J. Langston holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He is Professor Emeritus of English and Communications at MCLA,
where he was also the Honors Program Director. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Danforth Fellow and a Fellow at the
School of Criticism and Theory.
OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 1350 West Street | Pittsfield, MA 01201 | 413.236.2190 | firstname.lastname@example.org