Wallace Stevens philosophized in his poems. William Carlos Williams had some qualms about this. Consider Williams’s 1937 review of Stevens’ collection The Man with the Blue Guitar:
And so, to clinch the argument—for this book is in a way one long argument to emphasize a point—Stevens goes on and unfortunately overemphasizes what he has to say, relative to the function of a poet, making a defense of the poet, an apology for the poet, for Stevens himself, facing his world. Because of this and the wordiness of its effect I don’t like the second poem, a long subdivided one also under the general head, “Owl’s Clover.” It has its old woman very effectively balanced against the heroic plunging of sculptured horses, but nothing moves as it should.
Five beats to the line here, and that’s where the trouble is let in. These five beats have a strange effect on…
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