Poetry of Earth Leading to Poetic Impasse: A Reading of Four Poems in Harmonium

Prof. Tzu-fu Wang & Mei-yun Ko, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology & National Formosa University, Taiwan, ID LLCE2017-149;      Abstract: This paper attempts a reading of Wallace Stevens’ four major poems in Harmonium (1923): “Sunday Morning,” “Le Monocle de Mon Oncle,” “To the One with Fictive Music,” and “The Comedian as the Letter C,” arguing that the poetry of the earth in Harmonium, though great in celebrating an earthly paradise, actually leads to a poetic impasse for Stevens. Through a detailed reading the authors of this paper try to trace an act of mind in Stevens as he engages an endless dialogue with himself as a new kind of romantic poet in the American soil, i.e. on the one hand he denies his old romantic temperament by embracing the bareness of reality or things as they are, but on the other hand he longs to a sublime imagined land in poetry where the poet can find himself more truly and more strange.

Key Terms: Modern Poetry, Wallace Stevens, Romanticism