WALLACE STEVENS: THE POETICS OF THE IMAGINATION

W102


Wednesdays

12:00 – 1:30pm

Berkshire Community College

G–12

Pittsfield

1/15, 1/22, 1/29, 2/5 2/12, 2/19

Six Sessions












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."

Suggested Readings:

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, ed. Beyers & Serio, Vintage Reprint (2011).

The Necessary Angel: Essays on Reality and the Imagination, Wallace Stevens, Vintage (2011)

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.

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