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The Poetry of the PossibleSpontaneity, Modernism, and the Multitude$
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Joel Nickels

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816676088

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816676088.001.0001

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Rhapsodies of Change

Rhapsodies of Change

The Location of the Multitude in Wallace Stevens’s Poetry

(p.181) 4 Rhapsodies of Change
The Poetry of the Possible

Joel Nickels

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on the poetics of the modernist Wallace Stevens. The interpersonal ontologies of Stevens’s poetry tend to evoke the combined associative potential of a partly real, partly imaginary human matrix, a multitude whose potenza often seems so distant from everyday life that it can be invoked only as an elemental energetics—a primordial or not yet human presencing. In the uncollected 1936 long poem “Owl’s Clover”, Stevens allies the problems of collective organization, going so far as to frame the entire poem as a confrontation between the multitude, imagined as a potentially self-organizing force, and the poetic imagination, which is attempting to stake its own claims to organizational centrality.

Keywords:   poetics, modernist, Wallace Stevens, collective organization, poem

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