American poets for 4th July: Wallace Stevens

So, I’ve used American Poets as a prism through which to view my relationship with poetry.  This here is the future.  More exploration of the unknown, including pushing back from contemporary to modern.  See how it goes.

I was drawn to this one by the title – it intrigued me.  I read it once and was unsure, although I had a sense there was something there.  I reread it and kind of liked it.  By the time I’d written it out it had me.

Good Man, Woman Bad by Wallace Stevens

You say that spite avails her nothing, that

You rest intact in conscience and intact

In self, a man of longer time than days,

Of larger company than one.  Therefore,

Pure scientist, you look with nice aplomb

At this indifferent experience,

Deploring sentiment.  When May came last,

And equally as scientist you walked

Among the orchards in the apple-blocks

And saw the blossoms, snow-bred pink and white,

Making your heart of brass to intercept

The childish onslaughts of such innocence,

Why was it that you cast the brass away

And bared yourself, and bared yourself in vain?

She can corrode your world, if never you.

Sneaky bonus: Raymond Carver is not what you would call a famous American poet.  But he was a famous American writer who considered himself a poet.  And he is my favourite American writer, so I’m going to indulge.  And I chose this one cos I’m building up my Ted Hughes tag.

My Crow by Raymond Carver

A crow flew into the tree outside my window.

It was not Ted Hughes’s crow, or Galway’s crow.

Or Frost’s, Pasternak’s, or Lorca’s crow.

Or one of Homer’s crows, stuffed with gore,

after the battle.  This was just a crow.

That never fit in anywhere in its life,

or did anything worth mentioning.

It sat there on the branch for a few minutes.

Then picked up and flew beautifully

out of my life.


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