IN WHICH WILL BE FOUND WHAT IS SET FORTH THEREIN

Sunday, August 23, 2009

THE WORD FROM ON HIGH

For reasons incomprehensible to me, the print news media often refer to Helen Vendler as America's leading poetry critic.

This morning's NEW YORK TIMES features a review of the new Wallace Stevens Selected Poems by Professor Vendler.

Speaking of the poems in Stevens's first volume, Vendler has this to say:

"Harmonium contains one of the saddest of Stevens's poems, 'The Snow Man,' in which a man realizes that he must make something of a permanently wintry world of ice, snow, evergreens and wind, attempting to see 'nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.'"

To which I can only respond, "have you read the poem?!"

3 comments:

tyrone said...

Which only goes to underscore the general contempt for poetry by the Times...

knott said...

she only wrote two books about Stevens,

so i guess that disqualifies her, hunh?

Aldon Lynn Nielsen said...

I'm not at all sure how to read this second comment -- I have, of course, read her books on Stevens as well as her other writings on Stevens -- I read ON EXTENDED WINGS back when it first came out -- The number of books someone has written and published on a subject doesn't have a whole lot to do with assessing the judgment of this particular poem -- Did you find it to be a sad poem?