Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Terrifying intensity ....

... James Longenbach Interview on Stevens. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

When Stevens uses words like “things,” “ideas,” or “sense,” you feel that he must use those words in precisely the way he uses them; that is, he is not relying on what you already know about those words—he is making you think hard about what those words might mean in particular contexts. In this way, he is making huge areas of apparently unpoetic language available to poetry, and only a few poets have done this because only a few poets employ generalized diction with such unerring precision.

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