Overview: The late poetry of Wallace Stevens is presented and analyzed. Stevens's conception of the poet as reader and the world as a text to be read and translated is considered in "Large Red Man Reading" and "The Poem that Took the Place of a Mountain." The poet's preoccupation with natural cycles and sensory experience is exhibited in "The Plain Sense of Things." Finally, "A Primitive Like an Orb" is interpreted as Stevens's final vision of ceaseless change and transition in the world, in which the poet's verbal play participates.
This course covers the body of modern poetry, its characteristic techniques, concerns, and major practitioners. The authors discussed range from Yeats, Eliot, and Pound, to Stevens, Moore, Bishop, and Frost with additional lectures on the poetry of World War One, Imagism, and the Harlem Renaissance. Diverse methods of literary criticism are employed, such as historical, biographical, and gender criticism.