Wallace Stevens: Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Blackbird

(1882 words)

One of the most perplexing and elusive poems in Wallace Stevens’ Harmonium (1923), “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” has often been noted to allude “humorously to the Cubists’ practice of incorporating into unity and stasis a number of possible views of the subject observed over a span of time” (Buttel, 1967, p. 165). Whether in fact humorously or not, the poem is certainly intellectually amusing; it revolves around separate visual moments in which the subject – one or more blackbirds – is present in increasingly idiosyncratic ways. It was first published in 1917 in a breakthrough anthology which also promoted the works of T.S. Eliot, Mina Loy, Marianne Moore, Carl Sandburg a…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Jiménez Muñoz, Antonio José. "Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Blackbird". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8282, accessed 01 August 2014.]