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A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens
Eleanor Cook

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"In addition to superb commentary, there's an Appendix--27 golden pages--on how to read poetry. And the guide to Stevens's poems is full of shrewd, humane, often witty insights into a poetry that we thought we had gotten over."--Tom D'Evelyn, The Books we loved in '07, The Providence Journal

"Cook's Reader's Guide provides both the broad overviews and local glosses needed by serious students of Stevens's difficult poetry. . . . Those glosses . . . go well beyond simply noting publication history and defining unfamiliar terms. Indeed, many are small fragmentary essays, comprising paragraph-long overviews and important readings of individual phrases and images. . . . Cook's glosses, like Stevens's lines, transform what might be woody apparatus into provocations to see anew. The . . . appendix, 'How To Read Poetry, Including Stevens' . . . should be of great service to novice readers of Stevens. Some of her advice here is commonsense and elementary, but some . . . is fresh and even fun."--Michael Thurston, American Literary Scholarship


"It looks to be an invaluable companion for readers of a great poet whom many find difficult, although attractive. I am most happy to have this splendid book in my library--where it will be in use as often as on the shelf. And I shall certainly be recommending it to colleagues and friends."--Alastair Fowler, professor emeritus, University of Edinburgh

"This is a much-needed book that offers a comprehensive guide to the poetry of Wallace Stevens. For each poem, Cook offers a brief general comment, then a series of glosses on difficult phrases and obscure references. Both comments and glosses are by turns incisive, erudite, and witty, and often shed more light on the poems than much more drawn-out and elaborate commentaries. Cook's prose is elegantly spare and direct. Her guide allows at every point for multiple meanings and resonances."--Roger Gilbert, Cornell University

"New readers of Stevens must own this book, the ideal guide for starting out. . . . Cook's succinct summaries and annotations are confidently expert. . . . Long admired for her attention to syntactical word-play, Cook has a fine way here of describing meter as an aspect of form. . . . The book is littered with many . . . marvelous condensations. . . . The finest introductory close reading of 'The Man with the Blue Guitar' that has been published. . . . Although this book would seem to provide an atomized, poem-by-poem experience, its reader's greatest reward is the sense that he or she gets of the overall shape of the Stevensian project."--Al Filreis, University of Pennsylvania

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File created: 4/21/2017

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